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Nature. 1990 Jul 19;346(6281):269-71.

Suppression by glutamate of cGMP-activated conductance in retinal bipolar cells.

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Vollum Institute, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland 97201.


Depolarizing bipolar cells (DBCs) of the retina are the only neurons in the vertebrate central nervous system known to be hyperpolarized by the neurotransmitter glutamate. Both glutamate and its analogue L-2-amino-4-phosphonobutyrate (APB) hyperpolarize DBCs by decreasing membrane conductance. Furthermore, glutamate responses in DBCs slowly decrease during whole-cell recording, suggesting that the response involves a second messenger system. Here we report that intracellular cyclic GMP or GTP activates a membrane conductance that is suppressed by APB, resulting in an enhanced APB response. In the presence of GTP-gamma-S, APB causes an irreversible suppression of the conductance. Inhibitors of G-protein activation or phosphodiesterase activity decrease the APB response. Thus, the DBC glutamate receptor seems to close ion channels by increasing the rate of cGMP hydrolysis by a G protein-mediated process that is strikingly similar to light transduction in photoreceptors.

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