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J Gen Physiol. 1953 Nov 20;37(2):189-200.

The molar extinction of rhodopsin.


The molar extinction of rhodopsin is 40,600 cm.(2) per mole equivalent of retinene; i.e., this is the extinction of a solution of rhodopsin which is produced by, or yields on bleaching, a molar solution of retinene. The molar extinctions of all-trans retinene and all-trans retinene oxime have also been determined in ethyl alcohol and aqueous digitonin solutions. On the assumption that each chromophoric group of rhodopsin is made from a single molecule of retinene, it is concluded that the primary photochemical conversion of rhodopsin to lumi-rhodopsin has a quantum efficiency of 1; though the over-all bleaching of rhodopsin in solution to retinene and opsin may have a quantum efficiency as low as one-half. On bleaching cattle rhodopsin, about two sulfhydryl groups appear for each molecule of retinene liberated. In frog rhodopsin the -SH:retinene ratio appears to be higher, 5:2 or perhaps even 3:1. Some of this sulfhydryl appears to have been engaged in binding retinene to opsin; some may have been exposed as the result of changes in opsin which accompany bleaching, comparable with protein denaturation.

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