Browsing by Subject "photoreceptors"

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  • Woitowich, Nicole C.; Halavaty, Andrei S.; Waltz, Patricia; Kupitz, Christopher; Valera, Joseph; Tracy, Gregory; Gallagher, Kevin D.; Claesson, Elin; Nakane, Takanori; Pandey, Suraj; Nelson, Garrett; Tanaka, Rie; Nango, Eriko; Mizohata, Eiichi; Owada, Shigeki; Tono, Kensure; Joti, Yasumasa; Nugent, Angela C.; Patel, Hardik; Mapara, Ayesha; Hopkins, James; Duong, Phu; Bizhga, Dorina; Kovaleva, Svetlana E.; St Peter, Rachael; Hernandez, Cynthia N.; Ozarowski, Wesley B.; Roy-Chowdhuri, Shatabdi; Yang, Jay-How; Edlund, Petra; Takala, Heikki; Ihalainen, Janne; Brayshaw, Jennifer; Norwood, Tyler; Poudyal, Ishwor; Fromme, Petra; Spence, John C. H.; Moffat, Keith; Westenhoff, Sebastian; Schmidt, Marius; Stojkovic, Emina A. (2018)
    Phytochromes are red-light photoreceptors that were first characterized in plants, with homologs in photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic bacteria known as bacteriophytochromes (BphPs). Upon absorption of light, BphPs interconvert between two states denoted Pr and Pfr with distinct absorption spectra in the red and far-red. They have recently been engineered as enzymatic photoswitches for fluorescent-marker applications in non-invasive tissue imaging of mammals. This article presents cryo- and room-temperature crystal structures of the unusual phytochrome from the non-photosynthetic myxobacterium Stigmatella aurantiaca (SaBphP1) and reveals its role in the fruitingbody formation of this photomorphogenic bacterium. SaBphP1 lacks a conserved histidine (His) in the chromophore-binding domain that stabilizes the Pr state in the classical BphPs. Instead it contains a threonine (Thr), a feature that is restricted to several myxobacterial phytochromes and is not evolutionarily understood. SaBphP1 structures of the chromophore binding domain (CBD) and the complete photosensory core module (PCM) in wild-type and Thr-to-His mutant forms reveal details of the molecular mechanism of the Pr/Pfr transition associated with the physiological response of this myxobacterium to red light. Specifically, key structural differences in the CBD and PCM between the wild-type and the Thr-to-His mutant involve essential chromophore contacts with proximal amino acids, and point to how the photosignal is transduced through the rest of the protein, impacting the essential enzymatic activity in the photomorphogenic response of this myxobacterium.
  • Yovanovich, Carola A. M.; Koskela, Sanna M.; Nevala, Noora; Kondrashev, Sergei L.; Kelber, Almut; Donner, Kristian (2017)
    The presence of two spectrally different kinds of rod photoreceptors in amphibians has been hypothesized to enable purely rod-based colour vision at very low light levels. The hypothesis has never been properly tested, so we performed three behavioural experiments at different light intensities with toads (Bufo) and frogs (Rana) to determine the thresholds for colour discrimination. The thresholds of toads were different in mate choice and prey-catching tasks, suggesting that the differential sensitivities of different spectral cone types as well as task-specific factors set limits for the use of colour in these behavioural contexts. In neither task was there any indication of rod-based colour discrimination. By contrast, frogs performing phototactic jumping were able to distinguish blue from green light down to the absolute visual threshold, where vision relies only on rod signals. The remarkable sensitivity of this mechanism comparing signals from the two spectrally different rod types approaches theoretical limits set by photon fluctuations and intrinsic noise. Together, the results indicate that different pathways are involved in processing colour cues depending on the ecological relevance of this information for each task. This article is part of the themed issue 'Vision in dim light'.
  • Yovanovich, Carola A. M.; Koskela, Sanna M.; Nevala, Noora; Kondrashev, Sergei L.; Kelber, Almut; Donner, Kristian (The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2017)
    The presence of two spectrally different kinds of rod photoreceptors in amphibians has been hypothesized to enable purely rod-based colour vision at very low light levels. The hypothesis has never been properly tested, so we performed three behavioural experiments at different light intensities with toads (Bufo) and frogs (Rana) to determine the thresholds for colour discrimination. The thresholds of toads were different in mate choice and prey-catching tasks, suggesting that the differential sensitivities of different spectral cone types as well as task-specific factors set limits for the use of colour in these behavioural contexts. In neither task was there any indication of rod-based colour discrimination. By contrast, frogs performing phototactic jumping were able to distinguish blue from green light down to the absolute visual threshold, where vision relies only on rod signals. The remarkable sensitivity of this mechanism comparing signals from the two spectrally different rod types approaches theoretical limits set by photon fluctuations and intrinsic noise. Together, the results indicate that different pathways are involved in processing colour cues depending on the ecological relevance of this information for each task. This article is part of the themed issue 'Vision in dim light'.