Scientists in Bristol mimic vision protein in study

4th April 2016

Scientists at the University of Bristol have artificially created a mimic of a light-sensitive molecule that shows how the human eye perceives light.

Published in Science, the study could lead to new ways for scientists to build artificial cells that are sensitive to light.  

The protein, rhodopsin, sits in cell membranes in the retina and was created by Professor Jonathan Clayden and colleagues in Bristol's School of Chemistry.

Other scientists who collaborated on the project were from the Universities of Manchester and Hull.

The researchers were able to design and build a molecule that finds its way into a membrane and switches between different shapes as a result of light in different wavelengths. They did this with molecular designs that they took from antibiotic molecules that have the ability to bind to membranes.

Professor Clayden said: "This is the first time an artificial mimic of rhodopsin has been created: a discovery that could lead to new ways of building light-sensitive artificial cells."

Posted by Edward Bartel

 

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