Research report 2013 - Associated Institute - Research Center caesar (center of advanced european studies and research)

The supra-molecular structure of rhodopsin in retinal rods

Gunkel, Monika
Abteilung Molekulare Neurosensorik
The sense of vision is the most important sense for many animals and humans. The visual pigment rhodopsin is a key protein, it absorbs light which falls onto the visual cells in the retina. There has been a controversial discussion on the supra-molecular organisation of rhodopsin for many years. We have been able to clarify this controversy with the aid of electron tomography. Many illnesses which cause blindness can be traced back to mutations in the  rhodopsin gene and the resulting degeneration of the retina. Our findings can maybe contribute to explaining some causes of blindness.

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