Bilins or bilanes are biological pigments formed in many organisms as a metabolic product of certain porphyrins. Bilin (also called bilichrome) was named as a bile pigment of mammals, but can also be found in lower vertebrates, invertebrates, as well as red algae and green plants. Bilins can range in color from red, orange, yellow or brown to blue or green.
Chemically, bilins are linear arrangements of four pyrrole rings (tetrapyrroles). Examples of bilins include bilirubin, a breakdown product of heme in animals, and phycocyanobilin, the chromophore of the photosynthetic pigment phycocyanin in algae and plants. In plants, bilins also serve as the photopigments of the photoreceptor protein phytochrome. An example of an invertebrate bilin is micromatabilin, which is responsible for the green color of the Green Huntsman Spider, Micrommata virescens.
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