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Aust J Chem. 2011 May 1;64(5):611-616.

Raman Spectroscopic Imaging of Cholesterol and Docosahexaenoic Acid Distribution in the Retinal Rod Outer Segment.

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  • Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, 46566.


Raman vibrational spectroscopic imaging was performed on retinal rod cells isolated from bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana). The Raman spectra enable determination of the lipid and protein rich rod outer segment (ROS) from the nucleus and inner segment of the cell. Peak fitting analysis of spectra obtained from individual rod photoreceptor cells show characteristic vibrational modes that can be associated with cholesterol and docosahexaenoic acid containing lipids. These results provide direct observations of biomolecular gradients in the rod photoreceptor cells, which, thus far, have been based on indirect detergent extracts and histochemical analysis with indicators such as filipin. The detected biomolecules are associated with regulation of the integral membrane protein rhodopsin, and methods capable direct observation of these biomolecules offer new routes to exploring their role in the regulation of cellular processes.

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