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Chromatophores are the photosynthetic machineries of bacteria. Each chromatophore contains, embedded in a membrane, all the photosynthetic proteins needed to absorb sunlight and turn it into chemical fuel. Chromatophores come in different shapes: while some chromatophores are spherical, others are flat or tubular. It has puzzled scientists how all these different geometries arise, and a hypothesis has developed that it is the photosynthetic proteins that render the shape of chromatophore membrane. In a study reported recently, computational biologists using NAMD took an atomistic look at how the chromatophore proteins bend the membrane. Simulations showed that the most numerous photosynthetic proteins dome the membrane, building arched membrane patches that can then be assembled into a spherical chromatophore. These simulations demonstrated that photosynthetic proteins construct their individual membrane environment, and when many of such proteins come together in the bacterial membrane, they can build functional cellular units with unique geometries. For more details, please see our chromatophore website.