Fluorescence spectroscopy of rhodopsins: Insights and approaches

Ulrike Alexiev, David L. Farrens

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Fluorescence spectroscopy has become an established tool at the interface of biology, chemistry and physics because of its exquisite sensitivity and recent technical advancements. However, rhodopsin proteins present the fluorescence spectroscopist with a unique set of challenges and opportunities due to the presence of the light-sensitive retinal chromophore. This review briefly summarizes some approaches that have successfully met these challenges and the novel insights they have yielded about rhodopsin structure and function. We start with a brief overview of fluorescence fundamentals and experimental methodologies, followed by more specific discussions of technical challenges rhodopsin proteins present to fluorescence studies. Finally, we end by discussing some of the unique insights that have been gained specifically about visual rhodopsin and its interactions with affiliate proteins through the use of fluorescence spectroscopy. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Retinal Proteins - You can teach an old dog new tricks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)694-709
Number of pages16
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Bioenergetics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Fluorescence spectroscopy
  • Retinal protein
  • Site-directed fluorescence labeling
  • Visual rhodopsin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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