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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.S.

Department

Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Xiang-Qiang Chu

Abstract

Rhodopsin is a visual pigment found within the rod photoreceptor cells of the retina. It is a visual protein found within human beings and commonly shared amongst other vertebrate species. The major pigment protein is responsible for converting photons into chemical signals, which stimulates biological processes in the nervous system, and this allows the ability to then sense light [4]. The process of how rhodopsin is activated is believed to be understood with the introduction of a time ordered sequence of intermediate states. However, there are still major gaps and inconsistencies regarding the large-scale conformational changes that follow photoactivation. The purpose of our experimental research is to use small angle neutron and x-ray scattering techniques to illuminate the structural changes and dynamics of rhodopsin that lead to the activation of the photoreceptor, and thus triggering of the amplified visual response.

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