AskDefine | Define photoreceptor

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A specialized neuron able to detect, and react to light

Extensive Definition

Photoreceptor can refer to:
In anatomy/cell biology:
  • Photoreceptor cell: a photosensitive cell, most commonly referring to a specialized type of neuron found in the retina of vertebrate eyes that is capable of phototransduction
  • Ocellus (invertebrate photoreceptor): a photoreceptor organ ("simple eye") of invertebrates often comprised of a few sensory cells and a single lens
  • Eyespot apparatus (microbial photoreceptor): the photoreceptor organelle of a unicellular organism that allows for phototaxis
In biochemistry:
  • Photoreceptor protein: a chromoprotein that responds to being exposed to a certain wavelength of light by initiating a signal transduction cascade
  • Photopigment: an unstable pigment that undergoes a physical or chemical change upon absorbing a particular wavelength of light; also see
In technology:
  • Photodetector or photosensor: a device that detects light by capturing photons
photoreceptor in German: Fotorezeptor
photoreceptor in French: Photorécepteur
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