OSA's Digital Library

Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: Andrew M. Weiner
  • Vol. 22, Iss. 9 — May. 5, 2014
  • pp: 11043–11060

Direct observation of light focusing by single photoreceptor cell nuclei

Zuzanna Błaszczak, Moritz Kreysing, and Jochen Guck  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 22, Issue 9, pp. 11043-11060 (2014)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (3331 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



The vertebrate retina is inverted with respect to its optical function, which requires light to pass through the entire tissue prior to detection. The last significant barrier for photons to overcome is the outer nuclear layer formed by photoreceptor cell (PRC) nuclei. Here we experimentally characterise the optical properties of PRC nuclei using bright-field defocusing microscopy to capture near-field intensity distributions behind individual nuclei. We find that some nuclei efficiently focus incident light confirming earlier predictions based on comparative studies of chromatin organisation in nocturnal and diurnal mammals. The emergence of light focusing during the development of mouse nuclei highlights the acquired nature of the observed lens-like behaviour. Optical characterisation of these nuclei is an important first step towards an improved understanding of how light transmission through the retina is influenced by its constituents.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(330.0330) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision, color, and visual optics
(330.5370) Vision, color, and visual optics : Physiological optics
(330.4595) Vision, color, and visual optics : Optical effects on vision
(330.4875) Vision, color, and visual optics : Optics of physiological systems
(330.7331) Vision, color, and visual optics : Visual optics, receptor optics

ToC Category:
Vision, Color, and Visual Optics

Original Manuscript: January 2, 2014
Revised Manuscript: April 4, 2014
Manuscript Accepted: April 7, 2014
Published: May 1, 2014

Virtual Issues
Vol. 9, Iss. 7 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

Zuzanna Błaszczak, Moritz Kreysing, and Jochen Guck, "Direct observation of light focusing by single photoreceptor cell nuclei," Opt. Express 22, 11043-11060 (2014)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. G. Horvath, D. Varju, Polarized light in animal vision: Polarization patterns in nature (Springer, 2004). [CrossRef]
  2. I. C. Cuthill, J. C. Partridge, A. T. Bennett, S. C. Church, N. S. Hart, S. Hunt, “Ultraviolet vision in birds,” (Academic Press, 2000), pp. 159–214.
  3. M. F. Land, “The physics and biology of animal reflectors,” Prog. Biophys. Mol. Biol. 24, 75–106 (1972). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  4. T. M. Jordan, J. C. Partridge, N. W. Roberts, “Non-polarizing broadband multilayer reflectors in fish,” Nat. Photonics 6, 759–763 (2012). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. M. Kreysing, R. Pusch, D. Haverkate, M. Landsberger, J. Engelmann, J. Ruiter, C. Mora-Ferrer, E. Ulbricht, J. Grosche, K. Franze, S. Streif, S. Schumacher, F. Makarov, J. Kacza, J. Guck, H. Wolburg, J. K. Bowmaker, G. von der Emde, S. Schuster, H.-J. Wagner, A. Reichenbach, M. Francke, “Photonic crystal light collectors in fish retina improve vision in turbid water,” Science 336, 1700–1703 (2012). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. G. T. D. Francia, “Retina cones as dielectric antennas,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 39, 324 (1949). [CrossRef]
  7. R. L. Sidman, “The structure and concentration of solids in photoreceptor cells studied by refractometry and interference microscopy,” J. Biophys. Biochem. Cytol. 3, 15–30 (1957). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  8. J. M. Enoch, “Optical properties of the retinal photoreceptors,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 53, 71–85 (1963). [CrossRef]
  9. W. Stiles, “The luminous efficiency of monochromatic rays entering the eye pupil at different points and a new colour effect,” Proc. R. Soc. B 123, 90–118 (1937). [CrossRef]
  10. G. Westheimer, “Directional sensitivity of the retina: 75 years of stiles-crawford effect,” Proc. Biol. Sci. 275, 2777–2786 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  11. M. P. Rowe, N. Engheta, S. S. Easter, E. N. Pugh, “Graded-index model of a fish double cone exhibits differential polarization sensitivity,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A. Opt. Image. Sci. Vis. 11, 55–70 (1994). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  12. K. Arnold, C. Neumeyer, “Wavelength discrimination in the turtle pseudemys scripta elegans,” Vision Res. 27, 1501–1511 (1987). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  13. J. Bowmaker, “Colour vision in birds and the role of oil droplets,” Trends in Neurosciences 3, 196–199 (1980). [CrossRef]
  14. H. B. Barlow, “What causes trichromacy? A theoretical analysis using comb-filtered spectra,” Vision Res. 22, 635–643 (1982). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  15. V. Govardovskii, “On the role of oil drops in colour vision,” Vision Res. 23, 1739–1740 (1983). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  16. M. Vorobyev, “Coloured oil droplets enhance colour discrimination,” Proc. Biol. Sci. 270, 1255–1261 (2003). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  17. K. Franze, J. Grosche, S. N. Skatchkov, S. Schinkinger, C. Foja, D. Schild, O. Uckermann, K. Travis, A. Reichenbach, J. Guck, “Müller cells are living optical fibers in the vertebrate retina,” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 104, 8287–8292 (2007). [CrossRef]
  18. I. Solovei, M. Kreysing, C. Lanctôt, S. Kösem, L. Peichl, T. Cremer, J. Guck, B. Joffe, “Nuclear architecture of rod photoreceptor cells adapts to vision in mammalian evolution,” Cell 137, 356–368 (2009). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  19. D. Comings, “Arrangement of chromatin in the nucleus,” Hum. Genet. 53, 131–143 (1980). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  20. S. de Nooijer, J. Wellink, B. Mulder, T. Bisseling, “Non-specific interactions are sufficient to explain the position of heterochromatic chromocenters and nucleoli in interphase nuclei,” Nucleic. Acids. Res. 37, 3558–3568 (2009). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  21. K. Finan, P. R. Cook, D. Marenduzzo, “Non-specific (entropic) forces as major determinants of the structure of mammalian chromosomes,” Chromosome Res. 19, 53–61 (2011). [CrossRef]
  22. T. Sexton, H. Schober, P. Fraser, S. M. Gasser, “Gene regulation through nuclear organization,” Nature Structural and Molecular Biology 14, 1049–1055 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  23. M. Kreysing, L. Boyde, J. Guck, K. J. Chalut, “Physical insight into light scattering by photoreceptor cell nuclei,” Opt. Lett. 35, 2639–2641 (2010). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  24. P. Sarthy, D. M. Lam, “Isolated cells from the mammalian retina,” Brain Res. 176, 208–212 (1979). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  25. K. J. Chalut, A. E. Ekpenyong, W. L. Clegg, I. C. Melhuish, J. Guck, “Quantifying cellular differentiation by physical phenotype using digital holographic microscopy,” Integr. Biol. (Camb) 4, 280–284 (2012). [CrossRef]
  26. R. Barer, S. Joseph, “Refractometry of living cells part I. Basic principles,” Q. J. Microsc. Sci. 95, 399–423 (1954).
  27. Y. Sun, S. Duthaler, B. J. Nelson, “Autofocusing in computer microscopy: selecting the optimal focus algorithm,” Microsc. Res. Tech. 65, 139–149 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  28. A. F. Oskooi, D. Roundy, M. Ibanescu, P. Bermel, J. Joannopoulos, S. G. Johnson, “Meep: A flexible free-software package for electromagnetic simulations by the FDTD method,” Computer Physics Communications 181, 687–702 (2010). [CrossRef]
  29. J. Bowmaker, H. J. Dartnall, “Visual pigments of rods and cones in a human retina,” J. Physiol. 298, 501–511 (1980). [PubMed]
  30. E. N. Pugh, T. D. Lamb, “Amplification and kinetics of the activation steps in phototransduction,” Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1141, 111–149 (1993). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  31. Y. Geng, L. A. Schery, R. Sharma, A. Dubra, K. Ahmad, R. T. Libby, D. R. Williams, “Optical properties of the mouse eye,” Biomed. Opt. Express. 2, 717–738 (2011). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  32. Y. Geng, A. Dubra, L. Yin, W. H. Merigan, R. Sharma, R. T. Libby, D. R. Williams, “Adaptive optics retinal imaging in the living mouse eye,” Biomed. Opt. Express. 3, 715–734 (2012). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited