The vertebrate phototransduction cascade: amplification and termination mechanisms

Part of the Reviews of Physiology, Biochemistry and Pharmacology book series (REVIEWS, volume 154)


The biochemical cascade which transduces light into a neuronal signal in retinal photoreceptors is a heterotrimeric GTP-binding protein (G protein) signaling pathway called phototransduction. Works from psychophysicists, electrophysiologists, biochemists, and geneticists over several decades have come together to shape our understanding of how photon absorption leads to photoreceptor membrane hyperpolarization. The insights of phototransduction provide the foundation for a mechanistic account of signaling from many other G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) found throughout nature. The application of reverse genetic techniques has strengthened many historic findings and helped to describe this pathway at greater molecular details. However, many important questions remain to be answered.


Outer Segment Visual Pigment Cone Pigment Cone Opsin Flash Strength 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Atomic force microscopy


Homozygous arrestin knockout


1,2-bis(o-aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N′,N′-tetraacetic acid


3′,5′ Cyclic guanosine monophosphate


Cyclic nucleotide binding domain


Cyclic nucleotide-gated


Disheveled, EGL-10, Pleckstrin




Electron microscopy


Guanosine diphosphate


Guanosine monophosphate


Guanosine triphosphate


G protein-coupled receptor


Guanylate cyclase


Guanylate cyclase-activating protein


Homozygous GCAP knockout


GTPase-accelerating protein


G protein-coupled receptor kinase


G protein γ-like




Michaelis–Menten constant


Mouse ultraviolet visual pigment


Na+/Ca2+,K+ exchanger




Activated phosphodiesterase




Metarhodopsin II (activated form of rhodopsin)


Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics


Homozygous rhodopsin kinase knockout


Recoverin knockout


Heterozygous rhodopsin knockout


RGS9 anchoring protein


Regulator of G protein signaling


Ribonucleic acid


Schiff base


Switch region


Heterotrimeric transducin


Activated transducin


Dominant time constant of recovery


Recovery constant in dim flash response


Maximal rate of an enzymatic reaction


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© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA

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