Control of Intracellular Calcium in Vertebrate Photoreceptors

  • P. A. McNaughton
  • L. Cervetto
  • L. Lagnado
  • R. J. Perry
  • D. W. Robinson
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 194)


Calcium seemed for several years to be the most likely candidate for the intracellular messenger which is responsible for linking the absorption of light by rhodopsin to the first electrical event in phototransduction, the suppression of current flowing across the outer segment membrane (Yoshikami and Hagins, 1971; Hagins, 1971). Evidence against this point of view has come from three main sources: the intracellular calcium concentration is now known to decline after a flash of light, and not to rise as was required by the original calcium hypothesis (McNaughton, Cervetto and Nunn, 1986; Ratto, Payne, Owen and Tsien, 1988); the pathway linking rhodopsin isomerization to the breakdown of cyclic GMP, which is now considered to be the internal messenger, has been characterized in detail and has been found to exhibit the properties required to generate the light response (see review by Stryer, 1986); and, finally, cyclic GMP has been shown to open light-sensitive channels in isolated patches of outer segment membrane, while calcium has little or no effect (Fesenko, Kolesnikov and Lyubarksy, 1985). The action of calcium seems instead to be through an indirect effect on the light-sensitive pathway, most probably through an inhibition of the guanylate cyclase responsible for synthesizing cyclic GMP from GTP (Lolley and Racz, 1982; Koch and Stryer, 1988).


Outer Segment Guanylate Cyclase Light Adaptation Calcium Buffer Internal Calcium 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. A. McNaughton
    • 1
  • L. Cervetto
    • 1
  • L. Lagnado
    • 1
  • R. J. Perry
    • 1
  • D. W. Robinson
    • 1
  1. 1.Physiological LaboratoryUniversity of CambridgeUK

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