Variation in rhodopsin kinase expression alters the dim flash response shut off and the light adaptation in rod photoreceptors

Keisuke Sakurai, Joyce E. Young, Vladimir J. Kefalov, Shahrokh C. Khani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Purpose. Rod photoreceptors are exquisitely sensitive light detectors that function in dim light. The timely inactivation of their light responses is critical for the ability of rods to reliably detect and count photons. A key step in the inactivation of the rod transduction is the phosphorylation of the rod visual pigment, rhodopsin, catalyzed by G-protein-dependent receptor kinase 1 (GRK1). Absence of GRK1 greatly prolongs the photoreceptors' light response and enhances their susceptibility to degeneration. This study examined the light responses from mouse rods expressing various levels of GRK1 to evaluate how their function is modulated by rhodopsin inactivation. Methods. Transretinal and single-cell rod electrophysiological recordings were obtained from several strains of mice expressing GRK1 at 0.3- to 3-fold the wild-type levels. The effect of GRK1 expression level on the function of mouse rods was examined in darkness and during background adaptation. Results. Altering the expression of GRK1 from 0.3- to 3-fold that in wild-type rods had little effect on the single photon response amplitude. Notably, increasing the expression level of GRK1 accelerated the dim flash response shut off but had no effect on the saturated response shut off. Additionally, GRK1 excess abolished the acceleration of saturated responses shut off during light adaptation. Conclusions. These results demonstrate that rhodopsin inactivation can modulate the kinetics of recovery from dim light stimulation. More importantly, the ratio of rhodopsin kinase to its modulator recoverin appears critical for the proper adaptation of rods and the acceleration of their response shut off in background light.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6793-6800
Number of pages8
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 2011


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