Color Tuning in Retinylidene Proteins
Retinylidene proteins (also called rhodopsins) are membrane-embedded photoreceptors that contain a vitamin A aldehyde linked to a lysine residue by a Schiff base as their light-sensing chromophore. The chromophore is surrounded by seven-transmembrane α-helices and absorbs light at different wavelengths due to differences in the electronic energy gap between its ground and excited states. The variation in the wavelength of maximal absorption (λmax: 360–620 nm) of rhodopsins arises due to interaction between the apoprotein (opsin) and the retinyl chromophore, the ‘opsin shift’. This chapter reviews the color tuning mechanisms in type-1 microbial and type-2 animal rhodopsins as revealed mainly by our experimental and theoretical studies.
KeywordsRetinal Color tuning Rhodopsin π-conjugation Color variant Visible light Water molecule Vitamin-A
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