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Published December 2003 | Published
Journal Article Open

Novel form of adaptation in mouse retinal rods speeds recovery of phototransduction


Photoreceptors of the retina adapt to ambient light in a manner that allows them to detect changes in illumination over an enormous range of intensities. We have discovered a novel form of adaptation in mouse rods that persists long after the light has been extinguished and the rod's circulating dark current has returned. Electrophysiological recordings from individual rods showed that the time that a bright flash response remained in saturation was significantly shorter if the rod had been previously exposed to bright light. This persistent adaptation did not decrease the rate of rise of the response and therefore cannot be attributed to a decrease in the gain of transduction. Instead, this adaptation was accompanied by a marked speeding of the recovery of the response, suggesting that the step that rate-limits recovery had been accelerated. Experiments on knockout rods in which the identity of the rate-limiting step is known suggest that this adaptive acceleration results from a speeding of G protein/effector deactivation.

Additional Information

© 2003 Rockefeller University Press. Submitted: 2 September 2003; accepted: 8 October 2003. We thank Drs. Denis Baylor and Jeannie Chen for critically reading an earlier version of the manuscript. Supported by the National Eye Institute (EY14047 to M.E. Burns; Vision Core Grant to University of California, Davis (EY12576) and the UC Davis MD/Ph.D. program (C.M. Krispel). M.E. Burns is an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow.

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