Molecular Interactions of Crystallins in Relation to Optical Properties

  • C. Slingsby
  • B. Bax
  • R. Lapatto
  • O. A. Bateman
  • H. Driessen
  • P. F. Lindley
  • D. S. Moss
  • S. Najmudin
  • T. L. Blundell
Part of the Perspectives in Vision Research book series (PIVR)


The transparency of the lens depends on an even distribution of protein and water over distances comparable to the wavelength of light, while the degree of refraction is controlled partly by the ability of the lens to change shape. The core regions of certain lenses such as carp and rat have an extremely high refractive index as a result of high protein concentration, which confers rigidity on that region of the lens. By contrast the outer regions of these lenses, like the complete human lens, have a lower proportion of protein to water and are malleable (van Heyningen, 1976; Philipson, 1969; Fagerholm et al., 1981). Furthermore, there is an increasing protein concentration gradient from the periphery to the core of the lens, leading to a gradient of refractive index that almost abolishes spherical aberration (Fernald and Wright, 1983; Sivak, 1985).


Human Lens Lens Protein Senile Cataract Ribbon Diagram Mouse Lens 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Slingsby
    • 1
  • B. Bax
    • 1
  • R. Lapatto
    • 1
  • O. A. Bateman
    • 1
  • H. Driessen
    • 1
  • P. F. Lindley
    • 1
  • D. S. Moss
    • 1
  • S. Najmudin
    • 1
  • T. L. Blundell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of CrystallographyLaboratory of Molecular BiologyBirkbeck College, LondonGreat Britain

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