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Specificity of the chromophore-binding site in human cone opsins.


ABSTRACT: The variable composition of the chromophore-binding pocket in visual receptors is essential for vision. The visual phototransduction starts with the cis-trans isomerization of the retinal chromophore upon absorption of photons. Despite sharing the common 11-cis-retinal chromophore, rod and cone photoreceptors possess distinct photochemical properties. Thus, a detailed molecular characterization of the chromophore-binding pocket of these receptors is critical to understanding the differences in the photochemistry of vision between rods and cones. Unlike for rhodopsin (Rh), the crystal structures of cone opsins remain to be determined. To obtain insights into the specific chromophore-protein interactions that govern spectral tuning in human visual pigments, here we harnessed the unique binding properties of 11-cis-6-membered-ring-retinal (11-cis-6mr-retinal) with human blue, green, and red cone opsins. To unravel the specificity of the chromophore-binding pocket of cone opsins, we applied 11-cis-6mr-retinal analog-binding analyses to human blue, green, and red cone opsins. Our results revealed that among the three cone opsins, only blue cone opsin can accommodate the 11-cis-6mr-retinal in its chromophore-binding pocket, resulting in the formation of a synthetic blue pigment (B6mr) that absorbs visible light. A combination of primary sequence alignment, molecular modeling, and mutagenesis experiments revealed the specific amino acid residue 6.48 (Tyr-262 in blue cone opsins and Trp-281 in green and red cone opsins) as a selectivity filter in human cone opsins. Altogether, the results of our study uncover the molecular basis underlying the binding selectivity of 11-cis-6mr-retinal to the cone opsins.

SUBMITTER: Katayama K 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6463688 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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