The resonance Raman spectra of bovine metarhodopsin I and metarhodopsin II have been measured. The spectra are compared with model chromophore resonance Raman data. It was found that metarhodopsin I is linked to opsin via a protonated Schiff base linkage, whereas metarhodopsin II is linked by an unprotonated Schiff base. A recent suggestion that the chromophore of metarhodopsin II is retinal is explicitly disproved. The chromophores of both metarhodopsins are found to have an essentially all-trans conformation. The basic mechanism for color regulation in both forms appears to be electron derealization. The data tend to support the model of cis trans isomerization as the primary mechanism for vision. Also, the conclusions and inferences of this work on energy uses and storage by rhodopsin in neural generation are discussed.
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