Microbial rhodopsins are light-sensitive membrane proteins with a cofactor retinal. Most of them work as ion transporters, pumps and channels, which nowadays found their application in optogenetics – technology for optical control of cells and tissues in living organisms, such as neurons in brain. Rational design of enhanced optogenetic tools requires knowledge of high-resolution rhodopsin’s structures in unphotolysed but also in active states. Such structures and molecular movies of the proteins in course of their work are also obligatory for deciphering of the fundamental mechanisms of microbial rhodopsins functioning. They could be obtained using time-resolved crystallography at X-ray free electron lasers as well as at high-brilliance synchrotron sources.
In the talk our recent results of the time-resolved crystallography investigations of several light-driven ion pumps at P14 beamline of PETRAIII will be presented. The corresponding molecular mechanisms of ion translocation will also be discussed.