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J Gen Physiol. 1982 April 1; 79(4): 633–655.
PMCID: PMC2215482

Calcium and cyclic GMP regulation of light-sensitive protein phosphorylation in frog photoreceptor membranes

Abstract

In frog photoreceptor membranes, light induces a dephosphorylation of two small proteins and a phosphorylation of rhodopsin. The level of phosphorylation of the two small proteins is influenced by cyclic GMP. Measurement of their phosphorylation as a function of cyclic GMP concentration shows fivefold stimulation as cyclic GMP is increased from 10(-5) to 10(-3) M. This includes the concentration range over which light activation of a cyclic GMP phosphodiesterase causes cyclic GMP levels to fall in vivo. Cyclic AMP does not affect the phosphorylations. Calcium ions inhibit the phosphorylation reactions. Calcium inhibits the cyclic GMP-stimulated phosphorylation of the small proteins as its concentration is increased from 10(-6) to 10(-3) M, with maximal inhibition of 70% being observed. Rhodopsin phosphorylation is not stimulated by cyclic nucleotides, but is inhibited by calcium, with 50% inhibition being observed as the Ca++ concentration is increased from 10(-9) to 10(-3) M. A nucleotide binding site appears to regulate rhodopsin phosphorylation. Several properties of the rhodopsin phosphorylation suggest that it does not play a role in a rapid ATP-dependent regulation of the cyclic GMP pathway. Calcium inhibition of protein phosphorylation is a distinctive feature of this system, and it is suggested that Ca++ regulation of protein phosphorylation plays a role in the visual adaptation process. Furthermore, the data provide support for the idea that calcium and cyclic GMP pathways interact in regulating the light-sensitive conductance.

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