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J Neurosci. 2003 Apr 15;23(8):3145-53.

Circadian phase-dependent modulation of cGMP-gated channels of cone photoreceptors by dopamine and D2 agonist.

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  • 1Department of Biology and Biochemistry and Biological Clocks Program, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 77204-5001, USA.


The affinity of cGMP-gated ion channels (CNGCs) for cGMP in chick retinal cone photoreceptors is under circadian control. Here we report that dopamine (DA) and D2 receptor agonists evoke phase-dependent shifts in the affinity of CNGCs for activating ligand. Inside-out patch recordings from cultured chick cones were performed at circadian time (CT) 4-7 and CT 16-19 on the second day of constant darkness. Exposing intact cells to DA or the D2 agonist quinpirole for 2 hr before patch excision caused a significant increase in the K(D) for cGMP during the night (CT 16-19) but had no effect during the day (CT 4-7). DA or quinpirole treatment had no effect on the Hill slope or the average number of channels per patch. The effect of DA was blocked by the D2 antagonist eticlopride and was not mimicked by D1 agonists or blocked by D1 antagonists. By contrast, a brief (15 min) exposure to DA or quinpirole caused a decrease in K(D) during the subjective day and had no effect during the subjective night. Thus, the effect of D2 agonists depends on both the duration of agonist exposure and the time of day. Application of DA or quinpirole evoked a transient activation of the MAP kinase Erk (extracellular signal-related kinase) during the day but caused a sustained inhibition during the night. Conversely, D2 agonists caused activation of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II during the night and inhibited this enzyme during the day. A circadian oscillator in cones appears to regulate the nature of the transduction cascade used by D2 receptors.

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