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ABSTRACT: Cryptochrome (Cry) photoreceptors share high sequence and structural similarity with DNA repair enzyme DNA-photolyase and carry the same flavin cofactor. Accordingly, DNA-photolyase was considered a model system for the light activation process of cryptochromes. In line with this view were recent spectroscopic studies on cryptochromes of the CryDASH subfamily that showed photoreduction of the flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) cofactor to its fully reduced form. However, CryDASH members were recently shown to have photolyase activity for cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers in single-stranded DNA, which is absent for other members of the cryptochrome/photolyase family. Thus, CryDASH may have functions different from cryptochromes. The photocycle of other members of the cryptochrome family, such as Arabidopsis Cry1 and Cry2, which lack DNA repair activity but control photomorphogenesis and flowering time, remained elusive. Here we have shown that Arabidopsis Cry2 undergoes a photocycle in which semireduced flavin (FADH(.)) accumulates upon blue light irradiation. Green light irradiation of Cry2 causes a change in the equilibrium of flavin oxidation states and attenuates Cry2-controlled responses such as flowering. These results demonstrate that the active form of Cry2 contains FADH(.) (whereas catalytically active photolyase requires fully reduced flavin (FADH(-))) and suggest that cryptochromes could represent photoreceptors using flavin redox states for signaling differently from DNA-photolyase for photorepair.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2007; 282(20):14916-22. · 4.65 Impact Factor