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Turned on by Ca2+! The physiology and pathology of Ca(2+)-binding proteins in the retina.

Vertebrate photoreceptor cells can signal the absorption of a single photon and then modulate their response as the intensity of the light and the intensity of the background illumination vary, and it has long been recognized that Ca2+ ions contribute to the underlying processes. Recently, several Ca(2+)-binding proteins of the EF-hand family were identified that mediate the actions of Ca2+ during the response to light. Molecular interactions between these Ca(2+)-binding proteins and their cellular targets are amenable to study owing in part to the unique features of phototransduction. In addition, two of the proteins, recoverin and guanylate cyclase activating protein ( GCAP), appear to be involved in separate degenerative diseases of the retina that arise in humans and in animal models of human disease. Information obtained from these studies should also be relevant to the growing number of homologous proteins found in other neural tissues.[1]


  1. Turned on by Ca2+! The physiology and pathology of Ca(2+)-binding proteins in the retina. Polans, A., Baehr, W., Palczewski, K. Trends Neurosci. (1996) [Pubmed]
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