Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Find Color Sensitive Atomic Switch in Bacteria

05.11.2004


Researchers using extremely high resolution imaging have found an atomic switch capable of discriminating color in a bacterial membrane protein.



In a paper posted today on Science Express, the rapid advance publication page of Science, scientists from The University of Texas Medical School at Houston and the University of California , Irvine , describe the versatile light-sensing protein at levels of resolution smaller than a nanometer – one billionth of a meter.

“High-resolution X-ray crystallography revealed the light-absorbing part of the protein was present in two alternative positions, suggesting to us that light of different colors drives this protein back and forth between two differently colored states of the protein,” said corresponding author John L. Spudich, Ph.D., director of the Center for Membrane Biology in the UT Medical School Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. “Chemical analysis and spectroscopic methods then proved that the switch, buried in the middle of this membrane-embedded protein, similar in structure to our visual pigments, is controlled by blue versus orange photon absorption.” Spudich said.


That function makes the protein novel among its family of light-sensing proteins known as rhodopsins, which are present in microbes and higher animals. In human eyes, rhodopsin is the light-absorbing pigment of the rods, located in the retina. The team studied a new-found rhodopsin on the surface membrane of the bacterium Anabaena, classified as “blue-green algae” or cyanobacteria, which rely on photosynthesis to generate energy.

Having a single sensory protein capable of distinguishing color would provide Anabaena with information about the color of light available in its environment, enabling more efficient harvesting of light for photosynthesis, Spudich said. “Understanding rhodopsins helps us understand the large number of related membrane receptors involved in cell signaling that govern biological functions,” Spudich said. In the longer term, the novel protein found in Anabaena has the potential to be used in nano-machinery as a color-sensor; however the authors point out that this practical application is years in the future.

First author of the paper is Lutz Vogeley, a graduate student in the UC Irvine Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. Senior authors are Dr. Spudich and Dr. Hartmut Luecke, Ph.D., professor of molecular biology and biochemistry and of physiology and biophysics at UC-Irvine. Co-authors include Oleg Sineshchekov, Ph.D., of Moscow State University in Russia, and visiting professor in the UT Center for Biology, and research fellow Vishwa Trivedi, Ph.D., and Jun Sasaki, Ph.D., assistant professor, both of the UT Center for Membrane Biology. “One of the key frontiers of biomedical science in the genomic era is the crucial role of cell membranes in normal cell function and disease states,” said Spudich, who holds the Robert A. Welch Distinguished Chair in Chemistry and is a professor in the UT Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. “Ask virtually any investigator and you’ll find his or her research program bumps up against a membrane.”

Cell membrane surfaces and their exposed proteins are the most accessible targets to treat human tissue or destroy infectious microbes, he said. More than 60 percent of medications target membrane proteins on human cells and many antibiotics target membranes on pathogens.

Scott Merville | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uth.tmc.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch
22.05.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Flow of cerebrospinal fluid regulates neural stem cell division
22.05.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Spinning rugby balls: The rotation of the most massive galaxies

23.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Raiding the rape field

23.05.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Turning entanglement upside down

23.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>