Part of the NATO Science Series II book series (NAII, volume 232)


The main general idea, main topic of my lecture today is photobiological paradox of vision. The core of the paradox is: light in vision is not only a carrier of information, but also a risk factor of damage to the eye structures, first of all to the retina and to the layer of cell behind the retina – so called retinal pigment epithelium. In fact, the same paradox is real to other photobiological process – to photosynthesis. In this case light is used not only to convert and accumulate energy but also light can damage the photosynthetic molecular machinery. In both cases complex photoprotective systems, along with physiological system of visual reception or photosynthesis, have been developed in the course of evolution. In both cases the sophisticated photoprotective systems are able to solve the paradox of both photobiological processes. The impairment of these systems can lead in case of vision to human retina diseases or play role in progression of eye diseases like age-related macula degeneration, and in case of photosynthesis to destruction of plant cells or photosynthetic microorganisms.


Outer Segment Guanylyl Cyclase Visual Pigment Lipofuscin Granule Rhodopsin Molecule 
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© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

    • 1
  1. 1.Moscow Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR)Institute of Biochemical Physics, Russian Academy of SciencesDubna

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