Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 155, Issue 1, pp 39–45 | Cite as

Reversible phosphorylation of opsin induced by irradiation of blowfly retinae

  • R. Paulsen
  • J. Bentrop


Light-induced phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of the visual pigment protein, opsin, was investigated in isolated retinae of the blowfly making use of the fact that photon capture by rhodopsin leads to the formation of a thermostable metarhodopsin. Retinae were exposed, in the presence of exogenous32P-orthophosphate, to an intense blue light which initiated the phosphorylation of opsin (half-time about 5 min at 25 °C). Subsequent exposure of the retina to red light converted all the metarhodopsin present into rhodopsin and triggered a relatively rapid dephosphorylation of rhodopsin (half-time less than 20 s). It is proposed that the phosphorylated forms of rhodopsin and metarhodopsin represent inactive states of the pigment, i.e. phosphorylated metarhodopsin does not initiate reactions leading to the excitation of the photoreceptor cell and phosphorylated rhodopsin cannot be converted into physiologically active metarhodopsin without first being dephosphorylated.


Retina Blue Light Photoreceptor Cell Phosphorylated Form Inactive State 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



peripheral retinula cells of the blowfly ommatidium


prolonged depolarizing afterpotential






phosphorylated rhodopsin


phosphorylated metarhodopsin


sodium dodecylsulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Paulsen
    • 1
  • J. Bentrop
    • 1
  1. 1.Allgemeine Zoologie (Biologie I)Universität UlmUlmFederal Republic of Germany

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