It was previously known that the lens of the eye largely consists of lifeless cells. In these cells, the cell nuclei and other structures have been degraded so that all that remains is a solution of proteins.
This clear fluid enables light to pass through the lens to hit the retina and create an image of what is being seen. This is how the eye functions in humans and other mammals as well.
Now scientists at Lund University have discovered another fascinating dimension of the eye's lens. They have shown that the lens in the blue acara, a common aquarium fish, activates some of its lifeless cells every morning and every evening in order to change the concentration of protein in the cell fluid. The change is hardly measurable, but its effect is of major importance.
"With this strategy, the fish get better color vision during the day and can see better in the dark at night," says Marcus Schartau, a doctoral candidate in Professor Ronald Kröger's research team at the Department of Cell and Organism Biology at Lund University.
It is the amount of protein in the lifeless cells that makes the light refract in the right way. What happens in the morning in the blue acara eye is that the lens adapts the protein concentration so that the lens can focus light of various wave lengths (colors) at one and the same point. The fish can then see sharp color images. This is called making the lens multifocal.
In the evening the protein concentration is restored to the same level as before the morning change. The lens can then only focus a single wavelength on the retina. The eye thereby loses its ability to create sharp color images, but instead utilizes the wavelengths that are most important for night vision. This is referred to as making the lens monofocal.
This strategy, switching between the two lens types every day, is something humans lack. Our monofocal lens is simpler in construction, but thanks to our greater depth of focus, we can still see different colors in daylight.
For more information, please contact Ronald Kröger, phone: +46 46 - 222 05 96 or Ronald.Kroger@cob.lu.se.
Pressofficer: Lena Björk Blixt; Lena.Bjork_Blixt@kanslin.lu.se;+46-46 222 7186
Lena Björk Blixt | idw
Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'
23.01.2018 | Rutgers University
Researchers identify a protein that keeps metastatic breast cancer cells dormant
23.01.2018 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)
Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.
Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
23.01.2018 | Life Sciences
23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences
23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy