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Review
. 2019 Jun 20;88:59-83.
doi: 10.1146/annurev-biochem-013118-111327. Epub 2019 Apr 3.

Bacteriorhodopsin: Structural Insights Revealed Using X-Ray Lasers and Synchrotron Radiation

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Review

Bacteriorhodopsin: Structural Insights Revealed Using X-Ray Lasers and Synchrotron Radiation

Cecilia Wickstrand et al. Annu Rev Biochem. .

Abstract

Directional transport of protons across an energy transducing membrane-proton pumping-is ubiquitous in biology. Bacteriorhodopsin (bR) is a light-driven proton pump that is activated by a buried all-trans retinal chromophore being photoisomerized to a 13-cis conformation. The mechanism by which photoisomerization initiates directional proton transport against a proton concentration gradient has been studied by a myriad of biochemical, biophysical, and structural techniques. X-ray free electron lasers (XFELs) have created new opportunities to probe the structural dynamics of bR at room temperature on timescales from femtoseconds to milliseconds using time-resolved serial femtosecond crystallography (TR-SFX). Wereview these recent developments and highlight where XFEL studies reveal new details concerning the structural mechanism of retinal photoisomerization and proton pumping. We also discuss the extent to which these insights were anticipated by earlier intermediate trapping studies using synchrotron radiation. TR-SFX will open up the field for dynamical studies of other proteins that are not naturally light-sensitive.

Keywords: X-ray free electron lasers; bacteriorhodopsin; bioenergetics; intermediate trapping; proton pumping; time-resolved serial femtosecond crystallography.

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