Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • Letter
  • Published:

The chromophore binding space of opsin


THE rate of the reaction between opsin and 11-cis retinal, that gives the visual pigment rhodopsin, is measured in the presence and absence of structural analogues of 11-cis retinal, the polyene side chain of which is varied systematically. A decrease in regeneration rate can be interpreted as competition with 11-cis retinal for the binding site on the protein. This approach seems to provide information on the molecular dimensions of the chromophore binding space of opsin. Rotmans noticed that all-trans retinal does not inhibit the reaction between opsin and 11-cis retinal leading to rhodopsin1. More recently Mastumoto and Yoshizawa2 have reported that β-ionone, a compound carrying the six-membered ring configuration of retinal but with a shorter side chain, does inhibit the rate of this reaction. The surprising discrepancy between these two observations has led us to study more systematically the effects on the regeneration rate of a number of 11-cis retinal analogues, in which either the polyene side chain or the aldehyde group has been modified. We report here results that suggest that opsin possesses a specific chromophore binding space, one dimension of which is determined by the longest axis of 11-cis retinal, measured from the hydrophobic binding site onwards.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Rotmans, J. P. thesis, Univ. Nijmegen 89–91 (1973).

  2. Matsumoto, H. & Yoshizawa, T. Nature 258, 523–526 (1975).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. de Grip, W. J., Daemen, F. J. M. & Bonting, S. L. Vision Res. 12, 1697–1707 (1972).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Brown, P. K. & Wald, G. J. biol. Chem. 222, 865–877 (1956).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Hubbard, R., Brown, P. K. & Bownds, D. in Meth. Enzym. 18 c, 615–653 (1971).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Matsumoto, H., Horiuchi, K. & Yoshizawa, T. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 501, 257–268 (1978).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Wald, G. & Brown, P. K. Nature 177, 174–176 (1956).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Kropf, A., Whittenberger, B. P., Goff, S. P. & Waggoner, A. S. Expl Eye Res. 17, 591–606 (1973).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Honig, B. & Ebrey, T. A. Rev. Biophys. Bioengng 3, 151–177 (1974).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. de Grip, W. J., Liu, R. S. H., Ramamurthy, V. & Asato, A. Nature 262, 416–418 (1976).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Matsumoto, H. & Yoshizawa, T., Vision Res. 18, 607–609 (1978).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Daemen, F. J. M. & Bonting, S. L. Biophys. Struct. Mech. 3, 117–120 (1977).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

DAEMEN, F. The chromophore binding space of opsin. Nature 276, 847–848 (1978).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing