Modeling the rod outer segment birefringence change correlated with metarhodopsin II formation

Biophys J. 1982 Jun;38(3):237-41. doi: 10.1016/S0006-3495(82)84554-2.


A rapid birefringence loss associated with metarhodopsin II formation, delta (delta n) MII, is produced when frog rod outer segments are exposed to a bleaching light flash. To analyze the nature of the underlying structure change, measurements of delta (delta n) MII were made in rod outer segments perfused with glycerol solutions to increase the refractive index of the cytoplasmic and intradisk spaces. Comparisons of experimental results with computed changes in the form birefringence component using two- and three-dielectric outer segment models for several putative structure changes were made. It is concluded that delta (delta n) MII can be due to either a change in the intrinsic birefringence component caused by the reorientation of anisotropic molecules, or to a change in the form birefringence component caused by small changes in the cytoplasmic and/or intradisk volumes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Mathematics
  • Models, Biological*
  • Photoreceptor Cells / metabolism*
  • Rana pipiens
  • Retinal Pigments / metabolism*
  • Rhodopsin / analogs & derivatives
  • Rhodopsin / metabolism*
  • Rod Cell Outer Segment / metabolism*


  • Retinal Pigments
  • metarhodopsins
  • Rhodopsin