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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Structural insights into photoactivation of plant Cryptochrome-2.

  • Author(s): Palayam, Malathy
  • Ganapathy, Jagadeesan
  • Guercio, Angelica M
  • Tal, Lior
  • Deck, Samuel L
  • Shabek, Nitzan
  • et al.

Cryptochromes (CRYs) are evolutionarily conserved photoreceptors that mediate various light-induced responses in bacteria, plants, and animals. Plant cryptochromes govern a variety of critical growth and developmental processes including seed germination, flowering time and entrainment of the circadian clock. CRY's photocycle involves reduction of their flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD)-bound chromophore, which is completely oxidized in the dark and semi to fully reduced in the light signaling-active state. Despite the progress in characterizing cryptochromes, important aspects of their photochemistry, regulation, and light-induced structural changes remain to be addressed. In this study, we determine the crystal structure of the photosensory domain of Arabidopsis CRY2 in a tetrameric active state. Systematic structure-based analyses of photo-activated and inactive plant CRYs elucidate distinct structural elements and critical residues that dynamically partake in photo-induced oligomerization. Our study offers an updated model of CRYs photoactivation mechanism as well as the mode of its regulation by interacting proteins.

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