Bacteriophytochromes: Phytochrome-like photoreceptors from nonphotosynthetic eubacteria

Seth J. Davis, Alexander V. Vener, Richard D. Vierstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

298 Scopus citations


Phytochromes are a family of photoreceptors used by green plants to entrain their development to the light environment. The distribution of these chromoproteins has been expanded beyond photoautotrophs with the discovery of phytochrome-like proteins in the nonphotosynthetic eubacteria Deinococcus radiodurans and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Like plant phytochromes, the D. radiodurans receptor covalently binds linear tetrapyrroles autocatalytically to generate a photochromic holoprotein. However, the attachment site is distinct, using a histidine to potentially form a Schiff base linkage. Sequence homology and mutational analysis suggest that D. radiodurans bacteriophytochrome functions as a light-regulated histidine kinase, which helps protect the bacterium from visible light.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2517-2520
Number of pages4
Issue number5449
StatePublished - Dec 24 1999


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