Research ArticleStructural Biology

Conformational activation of visual rhodopsin in native disc membranes

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Sci. Signal.  10 Mar 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 367, pp. ra26
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2005646

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Rhodopsin is the G protein–coupled receptor (GPCR) that serves as a dim-light receptor for vision in vertebrates. We probed light-induced conformational changes in rhodopsin in its native membrane environment at room temperature using time-resolved wide-angle x-ray scattering. We observed a rapid conformational transition that is consistent with an outward tilt of the cytoplasmic portion of transmembrane helix 6 concomitant with an inward movement of the cytoplasmic portion of transmembrane helix 5. These movements were considerably larger than those reported from the basis of crystal structures of activated rhodopsin, implying that light activation of rhodopsin involves a more extended conformational change than was previously suggested.

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