Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Cryptochrome proteins are thought to be involved in light-sensitive magnetoreceptionin migratory birds triggered by flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) light absorption. A recent study, however calls into question the ability of vertebrate cryptochrome proteins to bind FAD, rendering them unlikely to function as magnetoreceptive proteins. In this Letter, we investigate the structural changes occurring in Drosophila melanogaster cryptochrome, upon key amino acid mutations, which reduce FAD binding. Through computational analysis we have now suggested why some mutations do not preclude FAD binding in all vertebrate cryptochrome proteins.