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A new subunit of the cyclic nucleotide-gated cation channel in retinal rods

Nature volume 362, pages 764767 (22 April 1993) | Download Citation

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Abstract

RETINAL rods respond to light with a membrane hyperpolarization produced by a G-protein-mediated signalling cascade that leads to cyclic GMP hydrolysis and the consequent closure of a cGMP-gated channel that is open in darkness1–7. A protein that forms this channel has recently been purified from bovine retina8 and molecularly cloned9, suggesting that the native cGMP-gated channel might be a homo-oligomer10. Here we report the cloning of another protein from human retina which has only about 30% overall identity to the rod channel subunit. This protein, immunocytochemically localized to rod outer segments, does not form functional channels by itself. However, when co-expressed with the cloned human rod channel protein11, it introduces rapid flickers to the channel openings that are characteristic of the native channel12–16. The hetero-oligomeric channel is also highly sensitive to the blocker L-cis-diltiazem, like the native channel15,17,18. This new protein thus seems to be another subunit of the native rod channel. The hetero-oligomeric nature of the rod channel means that it is no exception to a common motif shared by other ligand-gated channels.

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Affiliations

  1. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 725 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA

    • B. Ahamed
    • , R. R. Reed
    •  & K.-W. Yau
  2. Departments of Neuroscience, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 725 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA

    • T.-Y. Chen
    • , Y.-W. Peng
    • , R. R. Reed
    •  & K.-W. Yau
  3. Departments of Biomedical Engineering, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 725 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA

    • R. S. Dhallan
  4. Departments of Molecular Biology and Genetics, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 725 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA

    • R. R. Reed
  5. To whom correspondence should be addressed.

    • K.-W. Yau

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https://doi.org/10.1038/362764a0

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