Early Receptor Potential: Photoreversible Charge Displacement in Rhodopsin

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Science  03 Mar 1967:
Vol. 155, Issue 3766, pp. 1128-1131
DOI: 10.1126/science.155.3766.1128


When the eye is illuminated by an intense flash, the visual pigment rhodopsin begins to pass rapidly through a series of intermediate states, eventually becoming bleached. If a second flash is delivered during the lifetimes of these intermediates the rhodopsin can be photoregenerated. A fast electrical response of the visual receptors, the early receptor potential, is elicited by the first flash. A similar response is elicited by the second flash, but the polarity of this response is reversed. Moreover, this response can be separated into three components, each arising from the action of light on a different intermediate. It is likely that all these fast responses, including the early receptor potential, arise from charge displacements in the visual-pigment molecule.