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Biophys J. 2014 Sep 2;107(5):1042-1053. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2014.05.050.

Explicit spatiotemporal simulation of receptor-G protein coupling in rod cell disk membranes.

Author information

1
Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Bioinformatics, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
2
Institut für Medizinische Physik und Biophysik, Charité, Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany. Electronic address: martin.heck@charite.de.
3
Institut für Medizinische Physik und Biophysik, Charité, Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
4
Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Bioinformatics, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany. Electronic address: frank.noe@fu-berlin.de.

Abstract

Dim-light vision is mediated by retinal rod cells. Rhodopsin (R), a G-protein-coupled receptor, switches to its active form (R(∗)) in response to absorbing a single photon and activates multiple copies of the G-protein transducin (G) that trigger further downstream reactions of the phototransduction cascade. The classical assumption is that R and G are uniformly distributed and freely diffusing on disk membranes. Recent experimental findings have challenged this view by showing specific R architectures, including RG precomplexes, nonuniform R density, specific R arrangements, and immobile fractions of R. Here, we derive a physical model that describes the first steps of the photoactivation cascade in spatiotemporal detail and single-molecule resolution. The model was implemented in the ReaDDy software for particle-based reaction-diffusion simulations. Detailed kinetic in vitro experiments are used to parametrize the reaction rates and diffusion constants of R and G. Particle diffusion and G activation are then studied under different conditions of R-R interaction. It is found that the classical free-diffusion model is consistent with the available kinetic data. The existence of precomplexes between inactive R and G is only consistent with the data if these precomplexes are weak, with much larger dissociation rates than suggested elsewhere. Microarchitectures of R, such as dimer racks, would effectively immobilize R but have little impact on the diffusivity of G and on the overall amplification of the cascade at the level of the G protein.

PMID:
25185540
PMCID:
PMC4156778
DOI:
10.1016/j.bpj.2014.05.050
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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