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Nutr Rev. 2004 Jul;62(7 Pt 1):283-6.

The visual cycle of the cone photoreceptors of the retina.

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  • 1Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3104, USA.


The photoreceptors of the eye's retina consist of rods and cones; rods serve vision in dim light, whereas cones serve high-resolution color vision in daylight. The first event in vision is the light-initiated isomerization of 11-cis-retinal, which is attached to rod or cone opsin, to all-trans-retinal. The regeneration of 11-cis-retinal comprises the well-known visual cycle in rods. By using cone-dominant retinas from chickens and ground squirrels, a visual cycle has been discovered in cones that differs radically from that in rods, mainly in the mechanism of isomerization of all-trans-retinol to 11-cis-retinol, and the latter's oxidation to 11-cis-retinal.

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