Onset of feedback reactions underlying vertebrate rod photoreceptor light adaptation.
Light adaptation in vertebrate photoreceptors is thought to be mediated through a number of biochemical feedback reactions that reduce the sensitivity of the photoreceptor and accelerate the kinetics of the photoresponse. Ca2+ plays a major role in this process by regulating several components of the phototransduction cascade. Guanylate cyclase and rhodopsin kinase are suggested to be the major sites regulated by Ca2+. Recently, it was proposed that cGMP may be another messenger of light adaptation since it is able to regulate the rate of transducin GTPase and thus the lifetime of activated cGMP phosphodiesterase. Here we report measurements of the rates at which the changes in Ca2+ and cGMP are followed by the changes in the rates of corresponding enzymatic reactions in frog rod outer segments. Our data indicate that there is a temporal hierarchy among reactions that underlie light adaptation. Guanylate cyclase activity and rhodopsin phosphorylation respond to changes in Ca2+ very rapidly, on a subsecond time scale. This enables them to accelerate the falling phase of the flash response and to modulate flash sensitivity during continuous illumination. To the contrary, the acceleration of transducin GTPase, even after significant reduction in cGMP, occurs over several tens of seconds. It is substantially delayed by the slow dissociation of cGMP from the noncatalytic sites for cGMP binding located on cGMP phosphodiesterase. Therefore, cGMP-dependent regulation of transducin GTPase is likely to occur only during prolonged bright illumination.
Calvert, PD; Ho, TW; LeFebvre, YM; Arshavsky, VY
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