The LOV domain family: photoresponsive signaling modules coupled to diverse output domains.
For single-cell and multicellular systems to survive, they must accurately sense and respond to their cellular and extracellular environment. Light is a nearly ubiquitous environmental factor, and many species have evolved the capability to respond to this extracellular stimulus. Numerous photoreceptors underlie the activation of light-sensitive signal transduction cascades controlling these responses. Here, we review the properties of the light, oxygen, or voltage (LOV) family of blue-light photoreceptor domains, a subset of the Per-ARNT-Sim (PAS) superfamily. These flavin-binding domains, first identified in the higher-plant phototropins, are now shown to be present in plants, fungi, and bacteria. Notably, LOV domains are coupled to a wide array of other domains, including kinases, phosphodiesterases, F-box domains, STAS domains, and zinc fingers, which suggests that the absorption of blue light by LOV domains regulates the activity of these structurally and functionally diverse domains. LOV domains contain a conserved molecular volume extending from the flavin cofactor, which is the locus for light-driven structural change, to the molecular surface. We discuss the role of this conserved volume of structure in LOV-regulated processes.
Crosson, S; Rajagopal, S; Moffat, K
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