Metarhodopsin molecule

Metarhodopsin molecule

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Credit: LAGUNA DESIGN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Metarhodopsin II molecule, molecular model. This is one of the intermediary breakdown products formed when light falls on the photoreceptor pigment rhodopsin. Rhodopsin is found in the rod photoreceptor cells in the retina of the eye. The rhodopsin complex consists of the protein opsin, bound to a non-protein component, retinal. The retinal molecule absorbs light, which causes it to change shape and separate from the opsin. This initiates the transmission of nerve impulses to the brain, leading to the sensation of vision. The great sensitivity of rhodopsin is what allows vision in dim light.

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