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Biochemistry. 2013 Apr 30;52(17):3010-8. doi: 10.1021/bi3015967. Epub 2013 Apr 19.

Efficiencies of activation of transducin by cone and rod visual pigments.

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Department of Biophysics, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan.


How the light-induced transducin (Gt) activation process differs biochemically between cone visual pigments and rod visual pigment (rhodopsin) has remained unclear, because the Gt-activating state (Meta-II) of cone visual pigment decays too fast to precisely measure the activation efficiency by conventional biochemical methods such as the GTPĪ³S binding assay. Here we measured the activation efficiencies of chicken green-sensitive cone visual pigment (cG) and bovine rhodopsin (bRh) in real time by monitoring the intrinsic fluorescence of tryptophan residues in the pigments and Gt. Michaelis-Menten analysis of Gt activation showed that the initial velocity for cG was approximately half that for bRh, while their Michaelis constants were comparable. Gt activation by cG was immediately slowed because of the fast hydrolysis of the retinal Schiff base in Meta-II, but this hydrolysis was suppressed by forming the complex with Gt. Using mutants of cG and bRh for positions 122 and 189, which exhibit altered rates of chromophore hydrolysis in Meta-II, we found that the initial velocity of Gt activation is negatively correlated with the rate of chromophore hydrolysis. These results suggest that the amino acid residues at positions 122 and 189 account for not only the resistance to the chromophore hydrolysis in Meta-II but also the conformation of Meta-II for efficient Gt activation. The substantially longer lifetime of the Gt activating state of Rh would be necessary to suppress the spontaneous quenching by the stochastic decay of the Gt-activating state when a rod responds to a single photon.

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