(Science: chemical) A carotenoid constituent of visual pigments. It is the oxidised form of retinol which functions as the active component of the visual cycle.

It is bound to the protein opsin forming the complex rhodopsin. When stimulated by visible light, the retinal component of the rhodopsin complex undergoes isomerization at the 11-position of the double bond to the cis-form; this is reversed in dark reactions to return to the native trans-configuration.

Chemical name: retinal

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