Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Find Color Sensitive Atomic Switch In Bacteria

Date:
November 12, 2004
Source:
University Of Texas Medical School At Houston
Summary:
Researchers using extremely high resolution imaging have found an atomic switch capable of discriminating color in a bacterial membrane protein.

HOUSTON – (Sept. 30, 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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Texas Medical School At Houston. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Texas Medical School At Houston. "Researchers Find Color Sensitive Atomic Switch In Bacteria." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 November 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041108022203.htm>.
University Of Texas Medical School At Houston. (2004, November 12). Researchers Find Color Sensitive Atomic Switch In Bacteria. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041108022203.htm
University Of Texas Medical School At Houston. "Researchers Find Color Sensitive Atomic Switch In Bacteria." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041108022203.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Drone King Says the Revolution Depends on Regulators

China's Drone King Says the Revolution Depends on Regulators

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Comparing his current crop of drones to early personal computers, DJI founder Frank Wang says the industry is poised for a growth surge - assuming regulators in more markets clear it for takeoff. Jon Gordon reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand

3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand

AP (July 30, 2014) 3-D printing is a cool technology, but it's not exactly a hands-on way to make things. Enter the 3Doodler: the pen that turns you into the 3-D printer. AP technology writer Peter Svensson takes a closer look. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins