To understand light sensing mechanism in plants and bacteria

Conversion of light into chemical energy by proteins is central for life. The role of the photosensorytoppari7.jpg proteins is remarkable in this conversion. Scientists from the University of Jyväskylä and University of Gothenburg have determined the inner workings of one of these proteins – phytochromes. These proteins are found in all plant leaves, many bacteria and fungi. The proteins inform the cell whether it is day or night, or whether it is cloudy or sunny. Phytochromes were studied the means of by biochemistry [1], spectroscopy [1-3], X-ray scattering [2,3], and serial femtosecond crystallography [3].

Our Academy of Finland postdoctoral researcher Heli Lehtivuori was involved in this collaboration to carry out the UV-Vis spectroscopic measurements. In addition, this study included other measurements carried out at experimental facilities in France, Switzerland, Finland and the USA.


Optogenetics is an emerging technique that is the combination of genetic and optical methods to achieve gain or loss of function of well-defined events in specific cells of living tissue. The “Optogenetic tools in the molecular spotlight” eBook features research articles and reviews from scientists around the worlds, including our postdoctoral researcher Heli Lehtivuori. The chapters of the book cover the most prominent photosensory proteins which are applied in optogenetics. [4]