Effects of modified chromophores on the spectral sensitivity of salamander, squirrel and macaque cones.

Academic Article


  • 1. Chemically modified retinal chromophores were used to investigate the mechanisms that produce the characteristic spectral absorptions of cone pigments. Spectral sensitivities of single cones from the salamander, squirrel and macaque retina were determined by electrical recording. The chromophore was then replaced by bleaching the pigment and regenerating it with a retinal analogue. 2. Exposing a bleached cone to 9‐cis‐retinal for a brief period (less than 20 min) caused its flash sensitivity to recover to about 0.2 of the pre‐bleach value. Similar exposure to a locked 6‐s‐cis, 9‐cis analogue gave a recovery to about 0.03 of the pre‐bleach value. 3. Unlike the flash sensitivity, the saturating photocurrent amplitude often recovered completely after bleaching and regenerating the pigment. 4. When the 3‐dehydroretinal chromophore in the salamander long‐wavelength‐sensitive (red) cone was replaced with 11‐cis‐retinal, shortening the conjugated chain in the chromophore, the spectral sensitivity underwent a blue shift of 67 nm. 5. Pigments containing the planar‐locked 6‐s‐cis.9‐cis‐retinal analogue absorbed at substantially longer wavelength than those containing unmodified 9‐cis‐retinal. The opsin shift, a measure of the protein's ability to modify the chromophore's absorption was larger for the locked analogue than for 9‐cis‐retinal. This suggests that the native chromophore assumes a twisted 6‐s‐cis conformation in these pigments. 6. The spectral sensitivities of red and green macaque cones containing 9‐cis‐retinal or planar‐locked 6‐s‐cis.9‐cis‐retinal retained the 30 nm separation characteristic of the native pigments. This suggests that the different absorptions of of the 6‐7 carbon bond in the retinal chromophore. © 1990 The Physiological Society
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    Author List

  • Makino CL; Kraft TW; Mathies RA; Lugtenburg J; Miley ME; van der Steen R; Baylor DA
  • Start Page

  • 545
  • End Page

  • 560
  • Volume

  • 424
  • Issue

  • 1