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Review
. 2018 Nov 14;118(21):10629-10645.
doi: 10.1021/acs.chemrev.7b00715. Epub 2018 Jun 8.

Microbial Halorhodopsins: Light-Driven Chloride Pumps

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Review

Microbial Halorhodopsins: Light-Driven Chloride Pumps

Christopher Engelhard et al. Chem Rev. .

Abstract

Early research on the four microbial rhodopsins discovered in the archaeal Halobacterium salinarum revealed a structural template that served as a scaffold for two different functions: light-driven ion transport and phototaxis. Bacteriorhodopsin and halorhodopsin are proton and chloride pumps, respectively, while sensory rhodopsin I and II are responsible for phototactic behavior of the archaea. Halorhodopsins have been identified in various other species. Besides this group of archaeal halorhodopsins distinct chloride transporting rhodopsins groups have recently been identified in other organism like Flavobacteria or Cyanobacteria. Halorhodopsin from Natronomonas pharaonis is the best-studied homologue because of its facile expression and purification and its advantageous properties, which was the reason to introduce this protein as neural silencer into the new field of optogenetics. Two other major families of genetically encoded silencing proteins, proton pumps and anion channels, extended the repertoire of optogenetic tools. Here, we describe the functional and structural characteristics of halorhodopsins. We will discuss the data in light of common principles underlying the mechanism of ion pumps and sensors and will review biophysical and biochemical aspects of neuronal silencers.

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