A new paper with the title Molecular insights into variable electron transfer in amphibian cryptochrome has just been accepted in Biophysical Journal. The work presented in the paper is a collaboration between Emil and Ilia from the QBL group, and a group at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.
You can read the abstract of the paper below:
Cryptochrome proteins are activated by the absorption of blue light, leading to formation of radical pairs through electron transfer in the active site. Recent experimental studies have shown that once some of the amino acid residues in the active site of Xenopus laevis cryptochrome DASH are mutated, radical pair formation is still observed. In this paper, we computationally investigate electron transfer pathways in Xenopus laevis cryptochrome DASH, by extensively equilibrating a previously established homology model, using molecular dynamics simulations and then mutating key amino acids involved in the electron transfer. The electron transfer pathways are then probed by using tight binding density functional theory. We report the alternative electron transfer pathways resolved at the molecular level, and through comparison of amino acid sequences for cryptochromes from different species we demonstrate that one of these alternative electron transfer pathways could be general for all cryptochrome DASH proteins.