Bright Idea: Protein relocation helps eyes adapt to light

12:10pm, March 27, 2002

Long before sunglasses came on the scene, animals had evolved ways, such as shutter-like irises, to deal with the large differences in lighting that their eyes encounter. After all, many animals can see on both a starry night and a sunny day.

Two research teams have now uncovered a novel molecular mechanism that assists animals' vision. Proteins that are central to the complex light-sensing systems of the eye migrate from one part of a retinal cell to another to adjust the cell's sensitivity.

"This is a new theme" in light adaptation, says Vadim Arshavsky of Harvard Medical School in Boston, an author of one of the reports that appear in the March 28 Neuron.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.

More from this issue of Science News