Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Important structure in the transmission of light signals deciphered

Date:
March 21, 2011
Source:
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Summary:
Scientists have made a new discovery in the basics of signal transduction research. They were able to clarify for the first time, in an important information carrier in the human body, the receptor protein rhodopsin, how such a protein must be designed to accommodate a light signal.

Scientists from Charité -- Universitätsmedizin Berlin, in cooperation with the Humboldt-University of Berlin as well as Universities in South Korea, London and Toronto, have made a breakthrough in the basics of signal transduction research. They were able to clarify for the first time, in an important information carrier in the human body, the receptor protein rhodopsin, how such a protein must be designed to accommodate a light signal.

The study is published in the journal Nature.

Rhodopsin is one of the so-called G protein-coupled receptors. These proteins are found in the membranes that envelop every living cell. They connect the cells with signals from the environment such as light, scents and flavors, but also with signals from the body, such as hormones. Therefore, they are involved in almost all physiological processes in the body as well as in most diseases. In order for a receptor like Rhodopsin to receive information, it must interact with molecular carriers of information -- as for example a hormone or a light-sensitive "antenna." This is only possible when the receptor forms a binding site, in which the binding molecule (the so-called ligand) fits.

The research group has succeeded, for the first time, in keeping the light receptor rhodopsin in its light-activated state and in a stable form. In this so-called Meta State, the receptor binds the retinal, a derivative of vitamin A, in a form that is transformed by light. With this structure in hands, one gains insights into the mechanism of the interaction between the receptor and its ligand.

This is a significant step forward in the clarification and understanding of signal transduction in the cell. "One can learn from our example how a ligand is "interrogated" by a receptor protein ," explains Prof. Hofmann, deputy Director of the Institute of Medical Physics and Biophysics and Member of the Centre for Biophysics and Bioinformatics of the Humboldt-University. "There is reason to believe that the basic processes in ligand binding are similar in different receptors. Of course we also hope that we will benefit from the understanding of the underlying structures and mechanisms for the treatment of pathological changes in signal transduction."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hui-Woog Choe, Yong Ju Kim, Jung Hee Park, Takefumi Morizumi, Emil F. Pai, Norbert Krauß, Klaus Peter Hofmann, Patrick Scheerer, Oliver P. Ernst. Crystal structure of metarhodopsin II. Nature, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/nature09789

Cite This Page:

Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. "Important structure in the transmission of light signals deciphered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110310093820.htm>.
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. (2011, March 21). Important structure in the transmission of light signals deciphered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110310093820.htm
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. "Important structure in the transmission of light signals deciphered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110310093820.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — Hoping to break the record for world's wooliest, Shaun the sheep came up 10 pounds shy with his fleece weighing over 50 pounds after being shorn for the first time in years. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) — Canadian scientists looking into the very first land animals took a fish out of water and forced it to walk. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) — An international team uncovered a large ancient wine celler that likely belonged to a Cannonite ruler. 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