Istituto di Biofisica     
Salvini M., Dalle Lucche S., Barsanti L., Passarelli V. Identification of rhodopsin genes in microorganisms and higher plants. In: European Biologie environnement, vol. 23 (1) pp. 108 - 112. INEC, 1995.
Evolutionary relationships among different groups of organisms can be elucidated by analyzing the homologies in the amino acid sequences of those few macromolecules which are present in all organisms from bacteria to humans and are characterized by a unique ability to carry out a particular function whenever it is required. This approach has been followed for example for proteins such as ATP-ase and RNA polymerase. Rhodopsin could well be another of these macromolecules, for in the last 5 years increasing evidence suggests that rhodopsin—like visual pigments are present in most, if not all, of the major taxa, not only in Archaebacteria and Animalia, where the presence of ' rhodopsin is ascertained, but also in Protista, Fungi and Plantae, whose photoresponses have been always correlatedto at putative photoreceptive function of flavoproteins. To elucidate the extent to which rhodopsins are employed as photoreceptors among different and distant species, we probed the genomic DNA of a photosensitive flagellate (Euglena gracilis), two ciliates (Blepharisma japonicum and Euplotes crassus), and a tomato plant (Lycopersicon esculentum var. Mill) with oligonucleotide probes coding for specific conserved sequences of Halobacterium rhodopsin. The results show a similar pattern of bp bands in the three DNAs, 500, 400 and 300 bp respectively.
Subject Rhodopsin genes
Higher plants

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