Viral rhodopsins 1 are an unique family of light-gated cation channels

2020 | journal article; research paper. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​Viral rhodopsins 1 are an unique family of light-gated cation channels​
Zabelskii, D.; Alekseev, A.; Kovalev, K.; Rankovic, V. ; Balandin, T.; Soloviov, D. & Bratanov, D. et al.​ (2020) 
Nature Communications11(1).​ DOI: 

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Zabelskii, Dmitrii; Alekseev, Alexey; Kovalev, Kirill; Rankovic, Vladan ; Balandin, Taras; Soloviov, Dmytro; Bratanov, Dmitry; Savelyeva, Ekaterina; Podolyak, Elizaveta; Volkov, Dmytro; Vaganova, Svetlana; Astashkin, Roman; Chizhov, Igor; Yutin, Natalia; Rulev, Maksim; Popov, Alexander; Eria-Oliveira, Ana-Sofia; Rokitskaya, Tatiana; Mager, Thomas; Antonenko, Yuri; Rosselli, Riccardo; Armeev, Grigoriy; Shaitan, Konstantin; Vivaudou, Michel; Büldt, Georg; Rogachev, Andrey; Rodriguez-Valera, Francisco; Kirpichnikov, Mikhail; Moser, Tobias ; Offenhäusser, Andreas; Willbold, Dieter; Koonin, Eugene; Bamberg, Ernst; Gordeliy, Valentin
Phytoplankton is the base of the marine food chain as well as oxygen and carbon cycles and thus plays a global role in climate and ecology. Nucleocytoplasmic Large DNA Viruses that infect phytoplankton organisms and regulate the phytoplankton dynamics encompass genes of rhodopsins of two distinct families. Here, we present a functional and structural characterization of two proteins of viral rhodopsin group 1, OLPVR1 and VirChR1. Functional analysis of VirChR1 shows that it is a highly selective, Na+/K+-conducting channel and, in contrast to known cation channelrhodopsins, it is impermeable to Ca2+ ions. We show that, upon illumination, VirChR1 is able to drive neural firing. The 1.4 Å resolution structure of OLPVR1 reveals remarkable differences from the known channelrhodopsins and a unique ion-conducting pathway. Thus, viral rhodopsins 1 represent a unique, large group of light-gated channels (viral channelrhodopsins, VirChR1s). In nature, VirChR1s likely mediate phototaxis of algae enhancing the host anabolic processes to support virus reproduction, and therefore, might play a major role in global phytoplankton dynamics. Moreover, VirChR1s have unique potential for optogenetics as they lack possibly noxious Ca2+ permeability.
Issue Date
Nature Communications 
EXC 2067: Multiscale Bioimaging 
Working Group
RG Mager (Advanced Optogenes) 
RG Moser (Molecular Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology of Sound Encoding) 
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