High Resolution Structural Insights into Heliorhodopsin Family
Rhodopsins are the most abundant light-harvesting proteins. A new family of rhodopsins, heliorhodopsins (HeRs), was recently discovered. In opposite to the known rhodopsins their N-termini face the cytoplasm. HeRs structure and function remain unknown. We present structures of two HeR-48C12 states at 1.5 A showing its remarkable difference from all known rhodopsins. Its internal extracellular part is completely hydrophobic, while the cytoplasmic part comprises a cavity (‘active site’), surrounded by charged amino acids and containing a cluster of water molecules, presumably being a primary proton acceptor from the Schiff base. At acidic pH a planar triangle molecule (acetate) is present in the ‘active site’ which demonstrated its ability to maintain such anions as carbonate or nitrate. Structure-based bioinformatic analysis identified 10 subfamilies of HeRs suggesting their diverse biological functions. The structures and available data suggest an enzymatic activity of HeR-48C12 subfamily and their possible involvement into fundamental redox biological processes.