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Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2010 Nov;9(11):1475-9. doi: 10.1039/c0pp00124d. Epub 2010 Aug 9.

Rapid formation of all-trans retinol after bleaching in frog and mouse rod photoreceptor outer segments.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Medical University of South Carolina, 167 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.

Abstract

All-trans retinol is formed in the outer segments of vertebrate rod photoreceptors from the reduction of the all-trans retinal released by photoactivated rhodopsin. The reduction requires NADPH and is therefore dependent on metabolic input. In metabolically intact photoreceptors, a large increase in rod outer segment fluorescence, attributed to the fluorescence of all-trans retinol, follows rhodopsin photoactivation. The fluorescence increase is biphasic, including a rapid and a slow component. In metabolically compromised cells, there is a much smaller fluorescence increase following rhodopsin photoactivation, but it too contains a rapid component. We have measured the fluorescence signal in single living frog and mouse rod photoreceptors, and have characterized its dependence on the wavelengths of light selected for excitation and for collecting emission. We find that in metabolically intact cells, the excitation and emission properties of both the rapid and slow components of the fluorescence signal are in close agreement with those of all-trans retinol fluorescence. In metabolically compromised cells, however, the signal can only partially be due to all-trans retinol, and most of it is consistent with all-trans retinal. The results suggest that in the outer segments of living rod photoreceptors there is rapid release of all-trans retinal, which in metabolically intact cells is accompanied by rapid conversion to all-trans retinol.

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