Proteorhodopsins: An array of physiological roles?

Jed A. Fuhrman*, Michael S. Schwalbach, Ulrich Stingl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

197 Scopus citations


Metagenomic analyses have revealed widespread and diverse retinal-binding rhodopsin proteins (named proteorhodopsins) among numerous marine bacteria and archaea, which has challenged the notion that solar energy can only enter marine ecosystems by chlorophyll-based photosynthesis. Most marine proteorhodopsins share structural and functional similarities with archaeal bacteriorhodopsins, which generate proton motive force via light-activated proton pumping, thereby ultimately powering ATP production. This suggests an energetic role for proteorhodopsins. However, results from a growing number of investigations do not readily fit this model, which indicates that proteorhodopsins could have a range of physiological functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)488-494
Number of pages7
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology


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