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Access to the article is free, however registration and sign-in are required. In Halobacterium salinarum, a family of four archaeal rhodopsins performs several different signaling and cross-membrane transport functions. In this Perspective, Spudich discusses recent advances in understanding the molecular mechanism by which these homologous proteins perform this range of functions. A high-resolution structure of halorhodopsin (Kolbe et al., page 1390) provides insights into the relation between proton and chloride transport, representing an important step toward understanding the unifying principles in the archaeal rhodopsin family.
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