Sci. Signal., 14 June 2011
Biochemistry Seeing the Heat
Valda K. Vinson
Science, AAAS, Washington, DC 20005, USA
Dim-light vision requires a visual system that has high sensitivity to light but a low probability of thermal activation. Nevertheless, thermal pigment noise does occur. Luo et al. used single-cell recordings to measure photoisomerization activation energies and noise rates for diverse rod and cone pigments. A quantitative relation was observed between a pigment's photoactivation energy and its peak absorption wavelength. A statistical-mechanical analysis using this relation and modeling thermal activation was able to predict pigment noise rates.
Citation: V. K. Vinson, Seeing the Heat. Sci. Signal. 4, ec167 (2011).
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