Recent molecular models of rhodopsin (Rho) propose a specific interaction between transmembrane (TM) helices 3 and 5, which appears to be mediated by amino acid residues Glu122 and His211 on TM helices 3 and 5, respectively. To test this proposed interaction, four single-site histidine replacement mutants (H100N, H152N, H211N, and H211F), two single-site glutamic acid replacement mutants (E122Q and E122A), and three double-site replacement mutants (E122Q/H211F, E122Q/H211N, and E122A/H211F) of Rho were prepared. The expressed mutant pigments reconstituted into membranes were studied by FTIR difference spectroscopy addressing especially the transition to metarhodopsin I (MI). It is shown that the lipid environment influences bands typical of the MI state. Spectra of mutants with substituted Glu122 allowed assignments of the C=O stretch of protonated Glu122 in the dark state and in MI of Rho. Mutation of His211, but not of other histidine residues, affects these vibrational modes assigned to Glu122. In addition, replacements of His211 affect protein modes that are proposed to arise from a third, hydroxyl-bearing group, which also interacts with Glu122. These modes are influenced as well when Glu122 is replaced by Ala in mutant E122A but not when it is replaced by Gln in mutant E122Q. These results provide direct experimental evidence for an interaction between TM helices 3 and 5 in Rho, which is mediated by Glu122 and His211.