G-protein βγ-complex is crucial for efficient signal amplification in vision

Alexander V. Kolesnikov, Loryn Rikimaru, Anne K. Hennig, Peter D. Lukasiewicz, Steven J. Fliesler, Victor I. Govardovskii, Vladimir J. Kefalov, Oleg G. Kisselev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


A fundamental question of cell signaling biology is how faint external signals produce robust physiological responses. One universal mechanism relies on signal amplification via intracellular cascades mediated by heterotrimeric G-proteins. This high amplification system allows retinal rod photoreceptors to detect single photons of light. Although much is now known about the role of theα-subunit of the rod-specific G-protein transducin in phototransduction, the physiological function of the auxiliary αβ-complex in this process remains a mystery. Here, we show that elimination of the transducin γ-subunit drastically reduces signal amplification in intact mouse rods. The consequence is a striking decline in rod visual sensitivity and severe impairment of nocturnal vision. Our findings demonstrate that transducin αβ-complex controls ignal amplification of the rod phototransduction cascade and is critical for the ability of rod photoreceptors to function in low light conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8067-8077
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number22
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011


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