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Structures of the Visual Chromophores and Related Pigments: A Conformational Basis of Visual Excitation

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Abstract

A detailed conformational analysis of the known crystal structures of vitamin A, carotenoid, and xanthenoid derivatives has been made. These studies suggest that the visual chromophore 11-cis retinal and its isomers may each occur in several different conformational states, which would be expected to have different lightabsorbing characteristics. The presence of such states for 11-cis retinal and all-trans retinal may contribute to the observed rhodopsin intermediates that have been characterized by different λmax values, and to the breadth of spectral response in scotopic and color vision.

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