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J Physiol. 1993 Jun;465:513-37.

Visual transduction in dialysed detached rod outer segments from lizard retina.

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University of Washington School of Medicine, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Seattle 98195.


1. Properties of a new preparation for studying the physiology and biochemistry of phototransduction in retinal rods are described. Whole-cell voltage clamp was used to record the generation, maintenance and light-sensitivity of dark current in rod outer segments that had been isolated from the rest of the receptor cell by detachment at the connecting cilium. 2. Detached outer segments dialysed with standard internal solution supplemented with physiological amounts of ATP (5 mM) and GTP (1 mM) developed a standing inward dark current that was the sum of three components: approximately 91% light-sensitive current, approximately 6% Na(+)-Ca2+,K+ exchange current and approximately 3% leakage current. Light-sensitive dark current (mean amplitude approximately -63 pA) was suppressed transiently by brief flashes in an intensity-dependent manner. Light responses had the same kinetics, sensitivity and intensity-response relationship as those recorded from intact rods. 3. Dialysed outer segments differed from intact rods in that intense flashes evoked saturating responses that recovered incompletely to a plateau of reduced dark current caused by incomplete inactivation of the transduction cascade. Light sensitivity was reduced for a short time following an intense flash and then recovered despite persistent reduction of dark current. This suggests that there is no fixed relationship between dark current amplitude and light sensitivity. 4. Light-sensitive dark current faded rapidly when outer segments were not supplied with nucleotides. Outer segments dialysed with solution that contained cyclic GMP, but no ATP or GTP, supported dark current at a level that increased with [cyclic GMP]. When basal phosphodiesterase (PDE) activity is inhibited, 8 microM cyclic GMP supports a dark current of approximately 70 pA. 5. Light sensitivity decreased during recordings made with solution that contained only cyclic GMP, consistent with the inhibition of G protein activation by loss of GTP. After thorough nucleoside triphosphate depletion, however, intense illumination evoked a transient increase rather than a decrease in dark current, i.e. an inverted light response. This result suggests that isomerized rhodopsin may generate a signal that causes either inhibition of basal PDE activity or release of bound cyclic GMP. 6. Sustained Na(+)-Ca2+,K+ exchange current was recorded during steady illumination when Ca2+, but not when Mg2+, was added to the dialysis solution. Exchange current increased with the amount of added Ca2+ and saturated at approximately 18 pA when the dialysis solution contained > or = 10 mM Ca2+.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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