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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2009 Sep;50(9):4477-86. doi: 10.1167/iovs.08-3186. Epub 2009 Apr 30.

Light responses in rods of vitamin A-deprived Xenopus.

Author information

  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Center for Vision Research, Syracuse, New York 13210, USA. solessie@upstate.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Accumulation of free opsin by mutations in rhodopsin or insufficiencies in the visual cycle can lead to retinal degeneration. Free opsin activates phototransduction; however, the link between constitutive activation and retinal degeneration is unclear. In this study, the photoresponses of Xenopus rods rendered constitutively active by vitamin A deprivation were examined. Unlike their mammalian counterparts, Xenopus rods do not degenerate. Contrasting phototransduction in vitamin A-deprived Xenopus rods with phototransduction in constitutively active mammalian rods may provide new understanding of the mechanisms that lead to retinal degeneration.

METHODS:

The photocurrents of Xenopus tadpole rods were measured with suction electrode recordings, and guanylate cyclase activity was measured with the IBMX (3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine) jump technique. The amount of rhodopsin in rods was determined by microspectrophotometry.

RESULTS:

The vitamin A-deprived rod outer segments were 60% to 70% the length and diameter of the rods in age-matched animals. Approximately 90% of its opsin content was in the free or unbound form. Analogous to bleaching adaptation, the photoresponses were desensitized (10- to 20-fold) and faster. Unlike bleaching adaptation, the vitamin A-deprived rods maintained near normal saturating (dark) current densities by developing abnormally high rates of cGMP synthesis. Their rate of cGMP synthesis in the dark (15 seconds(-1)) was twofold greater than the maximum levels attainable by control rods ( approximately 7 seconds(-1)).

CONCLUSIONS:

Preserving circulating current density and response range appears to be an important goal for rod homeostasis. However, the compensatory changes associated with vitamin A deprivation in Xenopus rods come at the high metabolic cost of a 15-fold increase in basal ATP consumption.

PMID:
19407019
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2792892
Free PMC Article

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