FRANCIS LEROY & MAXIME DEROYER, BIOCOSMOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY FRANCIS LEROY & MAXIME DEROYER, BIOCOSMOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Conformation change of retinal in light, animation. At left is a rod cell from the retina of the eye. At right is a molecule of retinal, in its cis form, which is part of a larger molecule called rhodopsin within the cell membrane of the rod cell. When light (yellow) enters the eye and reaches the rod cell it causes retinal to change shape to its trans form (bottom right). This causes changes in the rhodopsin molecule that initiate the transmission of nerve impulses to the brain, leading to the sensation of vision. The conformational change in retinal is a rotation on the single chemical bond around the number 11 carbon, which straightens the molecule out.
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