A membrane bound protein of the halophilic (saltresistant) bacterium Halobacterium halobium. When activated by light, it pumps protons out of the cell; this creates a concentration gradient, which enables ATP to be synthesized. Bacteriorhodopsin is composed of seven a-helix segments, which span the membrane and are joined together by short amino-acid chains. It contains the prosthetic group retinal, which is also found in the pigment rhodopsin in the rod cells of vertebrates.
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