Raman microscope and quantum yield studies on the primary photochemistry of A2-visual pigments.

Research paper by B B Barry, R A RA Mathies, J A JA Pardoen, J J Lugtenburg

Indexed on: 01 Oct '87Published on: 01 Oct '87Published in: Biophysical Journal


The 77-K resonance Raman vibrational spectrum of intact goldfish rod photoreceptors containing 3,4-dehydro (A2) retinal is dominated by scattering from the 9-cis component of the steady state at all excitation wavelengths. Intact goldfish photoreceptors were regenerated with an A1-retinal chromophore to determine whether this behavior is caused by the protein or the chromophore. The resulting Raman spectrum was typical of an A1-pigment exhibiting significant scattering from all three components of the steady state: rhodopsin, bathorhodopsin, and isorhodopsin. Furthermore, regeneration of bovine opsin with A2-retinal produces a characteristic "A2-Raman spectrum" that is dominated by scattering from the 9-cis pigment. We conclude that the differences between the Raman spectra of the A1-and A2-pigments are caused by some intrinsic difference in the photochemical properties of the retinal chromophores. To quantitate these observations, the 77-K adsorption spectra and the photochemical quantum yields (phi) of the native A2-goldfish and the regenerated A2-bovine pigments were measured. In the goldfish A2-pigment, the value of phi 4 (9-cis----trans) is 0.05; phi 3 (trans----9-cis) is 0.10; and phi 2 (trans----11-cis) is 0.35. By contrast, in the bovine A1-pigment, these quantum yields are 0.10, 0.053, and 0.50, respectively. The reduced value of phi 4 and the increased value of phi 3 in the goldfish pigment confirms that the 9-cis isomer is photochemically more stable in A2-pigments.