The change in electrical conductance of rhodopsin solutions was studied with flash-photolysis techniques. The whole pattern of the conductance change on illumination consists of three different processes: (I) the initial decrease, (II) the increase, and (III) the slow decrease, which are in decreasing order of reaction rate. The processes I, II, and III can be most distinctly recognized on flash illumination of acid, slightly acid, and alkaline rhodopsins, respectively. On the other hand, the bleaching of rhodopsin also shows at least three successive phases of different rates, but none of them corresponds in reaction rate to any of the processes of the conductance change. The conductance change may be related to conformational changes of opsin following photoisomerization of retinene, being due to hydrogen or hydroxyl ions and some other inorganic electrolytes. The amount of the change, especially the initial decrease, is proportional to the amount of rhodopsin bleached, even when the photochemical back reaction towards rhodopsin and isorhodopsin occurs in the chromophore depending on the intensity of illumination. Of the three processes, the slow decrease is most severely affected by aging, but the initial decrease and increase are slightly affected. These two processes promptly caused by illumination are connected closely to the conformational changes during the conversion of rhodopsin to metarhodopsin, and perhaps to the initial stage of excitation of rod cells.

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