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Per-ARNT-Sim (PAS) domains serve as versatile sensor and interaction modules in signal transduction proteins. PAS sensors detect chemical and physical stimuli and regulate the activity of functionally diverse effector domains. In contrast to this chemical, physical, and functional diversity, the structure of the core of PAS domains is broadly conserved and(More)
Signal transduction proteins are organized into sensor (input) domains that perceive a signal and, in response, regulate the biological activity of effector (output) domains. We reprogrammed the input signal specificity of a normally oxygen-sensitive, light-inert histidine kinase by replacing its chemosensor domain by a light-oxygen-voltage photosensor(More)
Cellular processes and indeed the survival of entire organisms crucially depend on precise spatiotemporal coordination of a multitude of molecular events. A new tool in cell biology is denoted "optogenetics" which describes the use of genetically encoded, light-gated proteins, i.e. photoreceptors, which perturb and control cellular and organismal behavior(More)
Signaling photoreceptors use the information contained in the absorption of a photon to modulate biological activity in plants and a wide range of organisms. The fundamental-and as yet imperfectly answered-question is, how is this achieved at the molecular level? We adopt the perspective of biophysicists interested in light-dependent signal transduction in(More)
Polyadenylation of messenger RNA precursors is an essential process in eukaryotes. Poly(A) polymerase (PAP), a member of the nucleotidyltransferase family that includes DNA polymerase beta, incorporates ATP at the 3' end of mRNAs in a template-independent manner. Although the structures of mammalian and yeast PAPs are known, their mechanism of ATP selection(More)
Two-component systems (TCSs), which comprise sensor histidine kinases (SHK) and response-regulator proteins, represent the predominant strategy by which prokaryotes sense and respond to a changing environment. Despite paramount biological importance, a dearth exists of intact SHK structures containing both sensor and effector modules. Here, we report the(More)
Signaling photoreceptors mediate diverse organismal adaptations in response to light. As light-gated protein switches, signaling photoreceptors provide the basis for optogenetics, a term that refers to the control of organismal physiology and behavior by light. We establish as novel optogenetic tools the plasmids pDusk and pDawn, which employ blue-light(More)
Survival of organisms in dynamic environments requires accurate perception and integration of signals. At the molecular level, signal detection is mediated by signal receptor proteins that largely are of modular composition. Sensor modules, such as the widespread Per-ARNT-Sim (PAS) domains, detect signals and, in response, regulate the biological activity(More)
the transition between these states (Fig. 1). When photons activate channelrhodopsin in its DA state, the channel reaches the O1 state. In conditions of continuous light, channel-rhodopsin reaches an equilibrium consisting of O1 and O2 states. As the O2 state is less permeant for Na + than the O1 state is, the transition from the O1 state to the O2 state(More)
The foldon domain constitutes the C-terminal 30 amino acid residues of the trimeric protein fibritin from bacteriophage T4. Its function is to promote folding and trimerization of fibritin. We investigated structure, stability and folding mechanism of the isolated foldon domain. The domain folds into the same trimeric beta-propeller structure as in fibritin(More)