Biocurious is a weblog about biology, quantified.

Molecule of the Month: Carotenoid Oxygenase

by PhilipJ on 17 June 2005

“Eat your carrots or you’ll go blind! The biochemical reason for this childhood warning is that we need retinal, vitamin A, to form the pigment that absorbs light in our eyes. Unfortunately, our cells cannot make it for themselves, so we have to obtain it in our diet. We typically get our daily dose of vitamin A in two different ways. Retinal, or molecules similar to it, may be obtained directly when we eat meat. Alternatively, we can eat molecules that are easily transformed into retinal. This is where the carrots enter the story. They are full of beta-carotene, which our cells break in half to form two molecules of retinal.”

Read the rest at the Protein Data Bank, here.



  1. PhilipJ    4357 days ago    #
    It seems as though David Goodsell updates these on his personal site mid-month, but since I just posted this one I’ll wait for a week or two before posting another Molecule of the Month!
  2. Susan Penney    4356 days ago    #
    Yo dudes. This is some great molecule. Keep ‘em coming! :D
  3. Maria Thistle    4355 days ago    #
    Hi guys!!! nice to see this :) takes me back to lots of wasted time in the basement of the CP building… long time no chat, phil,.. hope everythings going well. see you ;)

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