Vision starts with a super-fast molecular dance

Research Brief Molecular Architecture of Life 12.11.2016

Rhodopsin, a pigment in the photoreceptor cells of the retina, absorbs light that enters the eye, transforming it into the first chemical signal in the chain reaction of vision. Now researchers have zeroed in on the molecular dynamics that make this ultrafast reaction possible.

Scientists have long explored the chemistry that makes vision possible. But the primary chemical reaction underlying vision occurs so fast that details about what happens at the molecular level have remained elusive. This experiment investigated what particular movements the retinal molecule makes when light hits it, and how these molecular vibrations work in sync to initiate the first step in the chain reaction of vision.

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