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Biophys Chem. 1995 Aug;55(3):185-96.

Cyclic nucleotide-gated channels in visual and olfactory transduction.

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Istituto di Cibernetica e Biofisica, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Genova, Italy.


Rod and cone photoreceptors are the light detectors in the visual system whereas olfactory receptor cells are the odorant detectors in the olfactory system. Despite the two very different types of stimuli, light in photoreceptors, and odorant molecules in olfactory receptor cells, the mechanisms of visual and olfactory transduction appear to have many homologies. Both stimuli trigger a chain of enzymatic events that terminates in a change in the concentration of a cyclic nucleotide: a decrease in the concentration of cGMP in photoreceptors, and an increase in the concentration of cAMP in olfactory receptor cells. These cyclic nucleotides directly gate cation channels and therefore a change in their concentration induced by the external stimulus is converted into an electrical signal. The analysis of the ionic selectivity properties of cyclic nucleotidegated channels in retinal rods, cones and in olfactory receptor cells shows that there are many similarities between these channels. They do not appreciably select between alkali monovalent cations and can be permeated and blocked by divalent cations. Their ionic permeation properties are consistent with the presence of a cation-binding site of high-field strength in the pore.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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