Scientists identify chemical process responsibile for vision

Posted by Nino Marchetti

Chicago (IL) - Scientists researching the many mysteries of the eye have determined which specific chemical processes occur to allow vision transmission to the brain for processing. It is hoped that this discovery will lead to the development of new treatments for some forms of blindness and vision disorders, restoring sight for many types of vision afflictions.





It has long been known that vision begins through a series of chemical reactions when light strikes the retina. According to the team of researchers from the United States and Switzerland, the specifics of this were not that well known however.

The researchers, reporting through the latest issue of the FASEB Journal, found something interesting. "At the center of the discovery is the signaling of rhodopsin to transducin. Rhodopsin is a pigment in the eye that helps detect light. Transducin is a protein (sometimes called "GPCR") which ultimately signals the brain that light is present."



Researchers say they were able to "freeze frame" interactions between rhodopsin and transducin to study it and find out what goes "wrong at the molecular level in certain [vision] disorders." This freezing involved "isolating rhodopsin/transducin directly from bovine retinas" and exposing it to light to activate the chemical signaling process.



The scientists believe this research may also impact other disorders, such as those affecting heart beat, blood pressure, memory, pain sensation, and even infection response - because it is believed they are all regulated by similar chemical communications and similar proteins.