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  1. My Molecular Eye

From the recording Songs From the Science Frontier

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This song was inspired by the work of Dr. Wouter Hoff, a microbiologist at Oklahoma State University. He studies how bacteria sense and respond to light. One mechanism that allows them to do this is a protein molecule that changes shape when struck by a photon, a “molecular eye!”


Lyrics

Like a moth I am drawn when the light falls upon me
I am a phototaxic bacterium
Where there’s light I can tell and I spin my flagella
To propel me toward those rays of sun

I’ll bet you thought something tiny as me
could never see. How can this be?

My molecular eye
Flips for a photon, Kicks out a proton and registers light
My molecular eye
Shows me the whole scene, One mighty protein gives me the sight
My molecular eye

I admit I am proud when I sense that it’s cloudy
Using photocyclic chromophores
With my fine protein eyes it is hardly surprising
I’ve survived where others died before

I’ll bet you’d love just to bask in its glow,
and you’re dying to know what makes it go.

My molecular eye
Flips for a photon, Kicks out a proton and registers light
My molecular eye
Shows me the whole scene, One mighty protein gives me the sight
My molecular eye

I spy with my tiny eye
My molecular eye
My molecular eye
My molecular eye