The Na+/Ca2+, K+ exchanger 2 modulates mammalian cone phototransduction

Keisuke Sakurai, Frans Vinberg, Tian Wang, Jeannie Chen, Vladimir J. Kefalov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Calcium ions (Ca2+) modulate the phototransduction cascade of vertebrate cone photoreceptors to tune gain, inactivation, and light adaptation. In darkness, the continuous current entering the cone outer segment through cGMP-gated (CNG) channels is carried in part by Ca2+, which is then extruded back to the extracellular space. The mechanism of Ca2+ extrusion from mammalian cones is not understood. The dominant view has been that the cone-specific isoform of the Na+Ca2+, K+ exchanger, NCKX2, is responsible for removing Ca2+ from their outer segments. However, indirect evaluation of cone function in NCKX2-deficient (Nckx2-/-) mice by electroretinogram recordings revealed normal photopic b-wave responses. This unexpected result suggested that NCKX2 may not be involved in the Ca2+ homeostasis of mammalian cones. To address this controversy, we examined the expression of NCKX2 in mouse cones and performed transretinal recordings from Nckx2-/- mice to determine the effect of NCKX2 deletion on cone function directly. We found that Nckx2-/- cones exhibit compromised phototransduction inactivation, slower response recovery and delayed background adaptation. We conclude that NCKX2 is required for the maintenance of efficient Ca2+ extrusion from mouse cones. However, surprisingly, Nckx2-/- cones adapted normally in steady background light, indicating the existence of additional Ca2+-Extruding mechanisms in mammalian cones.

Original languageEnglish
Article number32521
JournalScientific reports
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


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