The ability to sense light, known as photoreception, is the basis of all visual sensory systems found on Earth. In this Critical Review from Laura Barsanti and colleagues from the Istituto di Biofisica in Pisa, the basic concepts of photoreception are explored using Eugelena gracilis as an example. E. gracilis is an unicellular alga which uses a basic photoreception system to exploit light for use in photosynthesis.
The review outlines the different photoreceptive systems that are found in organisms and the proteins, signalling pathways and other physiological features which allow these systems to function. This information is then tied together by looking at photoreception in E. gracilis and the technology used to discover how these microscopic organisms sense light.
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Fundamental questions and concepts about photoreception and the case of Euglena gracilis
Laura Barsanti, Valtere Evangelista, Vincenzo Passarelli, Anna Maria Frassanito and Paolo Gualtieri