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Created with Fabric.js 1.4.5 Website Cell Communication inHuman Vision Firefox Chrome Rhodopsin absorbs a photon, changing the shape of a protein from cis-form to a trans-form, changing retinal shape and function. Signal Transduction Pathway in Rod and Cones Cells Retinal molecule after photon interaction. Retinal molecule before photon interaction. Opsin pigments are actually transmembrane proteins that contain a cofactor named retinal. When a photon hits retinal,the molecule is altered.Some carbons are thenchanged from a cis-to a trans- formation, and this process is called photoisomerization.This shape change activatesa G protein. This proteincauses a release of lessneurotransmitter. Until the molecule is changed back tocis- shape, it cannot respoondto light energy, whichis called bleaching.This processis reversed enzymatically whenthe retina needs to respondto light energy. Rhodopsin, the opsin pigment in rod cells, is very sensitive to light, so in direct sunlight,the rod cells will alwaysbe bleached. However, in a dark room, rhodopsin will become active. These reactions all occur in the the rod cells. Many more reactions must occur to pass the signals of vision from cell to cell, all the way to the brain. This is a very complicated process, so these reactions involving opsins in rod cells are just a snapshot of the big picture.
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