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J Biol Chem. 2012 Nov 30;287(49):41186-94. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.403717. Epub 2012 Oct 8.

Low activation and fast inactivation of transducin in carp cones.

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Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.


Cone photoreceptors show lower light sensitivity and briefer light responses than rod photoreceptors. The light detection signal in these cells is amplified through a phototransduction cascade. The first step of amplification in the cascade is the activation of a GTP-binding protein, transducin (Tr), by light-activated visual pigment (R*). We quantified transducin activation by measuring the binding of GTPγS in purified carp rod and cone membrane preparations with the use of a rapid quench apparatus and found that transducin activation by an R* molecule is ∼5 times less efficient in cones than in rods. Transducin activation terminated in less than 1 s in cones, more quickly than in rods. The rate of GTP hydrolysis in Tr*, and thus the rate of Tr* inactivation, was ∼25 times higher in cones than in rods. This faster inactivation of Tr* ensures briefer light responses in cones. The expression level of RGS9 was found to be ∼20 times higher in cones than in rods, which explains higher GTP hydrolytic activity and, thus, faster Tr* inactivation in cones than in rods. Although carp rods and cones express rod- or cone-versions of visual pigment and transducin, these molecules themselves do not seem to induce the differences significantly in the transducin activation and Tr* inactivation in rods and cones. Instead, the differences seem to be brought about in a rod or cone cell-type specific manner.

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