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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1986 Mar;83(5):1174-8.

Phosphodiesterase activation by photoexcited rhodopsin is quenched when rhodopsin is phosphorylated and binds the intrinsic 48-kDa protein of rod outer segments.


Each photoexcited rhodopsin (R*) molecule catalyzes binding of GTP to many copies of the guanine nucleotide-binding protein transducin, which, in its GTP-binding form, then activates cGMP phosphodiesterase (PDEase). Subsequent deactivation of this light-activated enzyme cascade involves hydrolysis of the GTP bound to transducin, as well as decay of the activating capacity of R*. We report here that deactivation of PDEase in rod outer segment suspensions is highly enhanced by addition of ATP and purified 48-kDa protein, which is an intrinsic rod outer segment protein that is soluble in the dark but binds to photolyzed rhodopsin that has been phosphorylated by rhodopsin kinase and ATP [Kühn, H., Hall, S.W. & Wilden, U. (1984) FEBS Lett. 176, 473-478]. To analyze the mechanism by which ATP and 48-kDa protein deactivate PDEase, we used an ATP-free system consisting of thoroughly washed disk membranes, whose rhodopsin had been previously phosphorylated and chromophore-regenerated, and to which purified PDEase and transducin were reassociated. Such phosphorylated membranes exhibited a significantly lower (by a factor less than or equal to 5) light-induced PDEase-activating capacity than unphosphorylated controls. Addition of purified 48-kDa protein to phosphorylated membranes further suppressed their PDEase-activating capacity; suppression could be as high as 98% (as compared to unphosphorylated membranes), depending on the amount of 48-kDa protein and the flash intensity. Addition of ATP had little further effect. In contrast, PDEase activation or deactivation with unphosphorylated control membranes was not influenced by 48-kDa protein, even in the presence of ATP, provided rhodopsin kinase was absent. Our data suggest that 48-kDa protein binds to phosphorylated R* and thereby quenches its capacity to activate transducin and PDEase.

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