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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Cyclic GMP and photoreceptor function.

A single photon can be detected by a rod photoreceptor cell. The absorption of light by rhodopsin triggers a cascade of reactions that amplifies the photon signal and results in ion channel closure with hyperpolarization of the rod photoreceptor cell. Light-induced conformational changes in rhodopsin facilitate the binding of a guanosine nucleotide-binding protein, transducin, which then undergoes a GTP-GDP exchange reaction and dissociation of the transducin complex. A subunit of transducin then activates a phosphodiesterase complex that hydrolyzes cyclic GMP. In darkness, cyclic GMP binds to cation channels of the photoreceptor plasma membrane, maintaining them in an open configuration. The light-induced reduction in cyclic GMP concentration dissociates the bound cyclic GMP, resulting in channel closure and hyperpolarization. Down-regulation of the cascade involves other proteins that block the interaction of transducin with rhodopsin and another protein that may interfere with transducin recycling. Cone photoreceptors possess a light-activated cascade that follows the rod format, but it is composed of proteins that are homologous to those of rod photoreceptors. Phototransduction in invertebrate photoreceptors uses rhodopsin to activate a cascade that uses phosphoinositides and calcium ion to regulate membrane polarization.[1]


  1. Cyclic GMP and photoreceptor function. Lolley, R.N., Lee, R.H. FASEB J. (1990) [Pubmed]
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