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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Exchange of cone for rod phosphodiesterase 6 catalytic subunits in rod photoreceptors mimics in part features of light adaptation

  • Author(s): Majumder, A
  • Pahlberg, J
  • Muradov, H
  • Boyd, KK
  • Sampath, AP
  • Artemyev, NO
  • et al.

© 2015 the authors. Despite the expression of homologous phototransduction components, the molecular basis for differences in light-evoked responses between rod and cone photoreceptors remains unclear. We examined the role of cGMP phosphodiesterase (PDE6) in this difference by expressing cone PDE6 (PDE6C) in rd1/rd1 rods lacking rod PDE6 (PDE6AB) using transgenic mice. The expression of PDE6C rescues retinal degeneration observed in rd1/rd1 rods. Double-transgenic rods (PDE6C++) were compared with rd1/+ rods based on similar PDE6 expression. PDE6C increased the basal PDE activity and speeded the rate-limiting step for phototransduction deactivation, causing rod photoresponses to appear light adapted, with reduced dark current and sensitivity and faster response kinetics. When PDE6C++ and rd1/+ rods were exposed to similar background light, rd1/+ rods displayed greater desensitization. These results indicate an increased spontaneous activity and faster deactivation of PDE6C compared with PDE6AB in darkness, but that background light increases steady PDE6C activity to a lesser extent. In addition to accelerating the recovery of the photoresponse, faster PDE6C deactivation may blunt the rise in background-induced steady PDE6C activity. Therefore, higher basal PDE6C activity and faster deactivation together partially account for faster and less sensitive cone photoresponses in darkness, whereas a reduced rise of steady PDE6C activity in background light may allow cones to avoid saturation.

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