Microbial rhodopsins of Halorubrum species isolated from Ejinoor salt lake in Inner Mongolia of China†
Microbial rhodopsins are photoactive proteins that use a retinal molecule as the photoactive center. Because of structural simplicity and functional diversity, microbial rhodopsins have been an excellent model system for structural biology. In this study, a halophilic archaea that has three microbial rhodopsin-type genes in its genome was isolated from Ejinoor salt lake in Inner Mongolia of China. A sequence of 16S rRNA showed that the strain belongs to Halorubrum genus and named Halorubrum sp. ejinoor (He). The translated amino acid sequences of its microbial rhodopsin-type genes suggest that they are homologs of archaerhodopsin (HeAR), halorhodopsin (HeHR) and sensory rhodopsin II (HeSRII). The mRNAs of three types of genes were detected by RT-PCR and their amounts were investigated by Real-Time RT-PCR. The amount of mRNA of HeSRII was the smallest and the amounts of of HeAR and HeHR were 30 times and 10 times greater than that of HeSRII. The results of light-induced pH changes suggested the presence of a light-driven proton pump and a light-driven chloride ion pump in the membrane vesicles of He. Flash induced absorbance changes of the He membrane fraction indicated that HeAR and HeHR are photoactive and undergo their own photocycles. This study revealed that three microbial rhodopsin-type genes are all expressed in the strain and at least two of them, HeAR and HeHR, are photochemically and physiologically active like BR and HR of Halobacterium salinarum, respectively. To our knowledge, this is the first report of physiological activity of HR-homolog of Halorubrum species.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 16th International Conference on Retinal Proteins