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Cellular “Light Switch” Analysed Using Neutron Scattering
Superimposed stages of the movement of a LOV protein (foreground), generated by molecular dynamic simulation. The red areas show the initial position; the blue indicates the final position. A functional unit is made up of two LOV domains - the second can be seen in the background as the semi-transparent image. The light-absorbing centres of the protein are depicted in both subunits as ball-and-stick models. © Forschungszentrum Jülich/M. Bocola, RWTH Aachen
The internal movements of proteins can be important for their functionality; researchers are discovering more and more examples of this. Now, with the aid of neutron spectroscopy, dynamic processes have also been detected in so-called “LOV photoreceptors” by scientists from Jülich, Aachen, Dusseldorf and Garching near Munich. These proteins are widely distributed throughout nature and are of biotechnological relevance. The results highlight the immense potential of neutron scattering experiments for the analysis of cellular processes. The research has recently been published in the Biophysical Journal (DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2016.01.021).
A. Stadler et al., Photoactivation reduces side-chain dynamics of a LOV photoreceptor, Biophysical Journal 10, 1061 (2016)