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Nat Neurosci. 1998 Sep;1(5):359-65.

An unusual cGMP pathway underlying depolarizing light response of the vertebrate parietal-eye photoreceptor.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


All cellular signaling pathways currently known to elevate cGMP involve the activation of a guanylyl cyclase to synthesize cGMP. Here we describe an exception to this rule. In the vertebrate parietal eye, the photoreceptors depolarize to light under dark-adapted conditions, unlike rods and cones but like most invertebrate photoreceptors. We report that the signaling pathway for this response involves a rise in intracellular cGMP resulting from an inhibition of the phosphodiesterase that hydrolyzes cGMP. Furthermore, this phosphodiesterase is driven by an active G protein in darkness. These results indicate an antagonistic control of the phosphodiesterase by two G proteins, analogous to the Gs/Gi control of adenylyl cyclase. Our findings demonstrate an unusual phototransduction mechanism and at the same time indicate that signaling involving cyclic nucleotides is more elaborate than previously known.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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