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J Biol Chem. 2002 Nov 1;277(44):42315-24. Epub 2002 Aug 9.

Biochemical and physiological properties of rhodopsin regenerated with 11-cis-6-ring- and 7-ring-retinals.

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  • 1Departments of Ophthalmology, University of Washington, Seattle 98195, USA.


Phototransduction is initiated by the photoisomerization of rhodopsin (Rho) chromophore 11-cis-retinylidene to all-trans-retinylidene. Here, using Rho regenerated with retinal analogs with different ring sizes, which prevent isomerization around the C(11)=C(12) double bond, the activation mechanism of this G-protein-coupled receptor was investigated. We demonstrate that 11-cis-7-ring-Rho does not activate G-protein in vivo and in vitro, and that it does not isomerize along other double bonds, suggesting that it fits tightly into the binding site of opsin. In contrast, bleaching 11-cis-6-ring-Rho modestly activates phototransduction in vivo and at low pH in vitro. These results reveal that partial activation is caused by isomerization along other double bonds in more rigid 6-locked retinal isomers and protonation of key residues by lowering pH in 11-cis-6-ring-Rhos. Full activation is not achieved, because isomerization does not induce a complete set of conformational rearrangements of Rho. These results with 6- and 7-ring-constrained retinoids provide new insights into Rho activation and suggest a potential use of locked retinals, particularly 11-cis-7-ring-retinal, to inactivate opsin in some retinal degeneration diseases.

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