Research ArticleStructural Biology

Design of a light-gated proton channel based on the crystal structure of Coccomyxa rhodopsin

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Science Signaling  19 Mar 2019:
Vol. 12, Issue 573, eaav4203
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aav4203

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The light between pumps and channels

Whereas pumps move ions actively, channels move ions passively. Fudim et al. generated a high-resolution crystal structure for Coccomyxa subellipsoidea rhodopsin, a light-activated proton pump. These data enabled the authors to identify a critical interaction between Arg83 and Tyr14 in a transmembrane domain and generate a point mutant of this rhodopsin that behaved as a light-gated proton channel. These results provide greater insight into the molecular determinants that distinguish proton pumps from channels.