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J Neurosci. 2004 Feb 11;24(6):1296-304.

Circadian regulation of cGMP-gated channels of vertebrate cone photoreceptors: role of cAMP and Ras.

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


Circadian oscillators in chicken cone photoreceptors regulate the gating properties of cGMP-gated cationic channels (CNGCs) such that they have a higher apparent affinity for cGMP during the subjective night. Here we show that cAMP, acting through protein kinase A (PKA), Ras, and Erk, is part of the circadian output pathway controlling CNGCs. Endogenous and exogenous cAMP cause activation of Erk and Ras, which are more active at night in cones, and increase the apparent affinity of CNGCs for cGMP. The Ras farnesyl transferase inhibitor manumycin-A, and a dominant-negative form of Ras (RasN17) block the circadian rhythms in CNGC gating, as well as the effects of cAMP. A dominant-negative form of the MEK kinase B-Raf also blocks circadian and cAMP modulation of CNGCs. The circadian output pathway modulating CNGC channels is comprised in part of cAMP --> PKA --> Ras --> B-Raf --> MEK --> Erk --> --> CNGCs. cAMP activation of Ras and Erk occur within minutes, whereas modulation of CNGCs requires >1 hr. However, cAMP protagonists do not alter rhythms in cPer2 mRNA, and their effects on CNGCs cannot be attributed to clock phase-shifting.

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