Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometry Studies Shed Light on Vision


Scientists from the University of Washington used nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers at the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL), a DOE Scientific User Facility located in Richland, Washington, to study molecular binding processes that occur during the conversion of light into electrical energy, thus enabling vision. They confirmed that a key photoreceptor (phosphodiesterase) in the signal transduction pathway for vision in vertebrates, binds to cyclic guanosine monophosphate. These findings are an important step in understanding how the visual signaling pathway works, and they provide opportunities for targeted drug design to correct deficiencies in this important vision signaling pathway. The findings were featured on the cover of the September 19, 2008, issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry (Martinez et al., 283, 25913 (2008)) and the article was a Paper of the Week for that issue. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and a Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds PhD Scholarship.