Vision is initiated when a photon is absorbed by the 11-cis retinal chromophore in the visual pigment rhodopsin. The adsorption maximum of 11-cis retinal in rhodopsin is strongly red-shifted by the presence of the protein (380→500 nm). This shift is caused by the presence of a protonated Schiff base (C=NH) linkage to the protein and by additional protein-chromophore perturbations. The primary photoproduct, bathorhodopsin, is formed by a rapid (<6-ps) 11-cis → 11-trans excited state double bond isomerization.

© 1986 Optical Society of America

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