Identification of components of a phosphoinositide signaling pathway in retinal rod outer segments

Y. W. Peng, S. G. Rhee, W. P. Yu, Y. K. Ho, T. Schoen, G. J. Chader, K. W. Yau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Phototransduction in retinal rods involves a G protein-coupled signaling cascade that leads to cGMP hydrolysis and the closure of cGMP-gated cation channels that are open in darkness, producing a membrane hyperpolarization as the light response. For many years there have also been reports of the presence of a phosphoinositide pathway in the rod outer segment, though its functions and the molecular identities of its components are still unclear. Using immunocytochemistry with antibodies against various phosphainositide- specific phospholipase C (PLC) isozymes (β1-4, γ1-2, and δ1-2), we have found PLCβ4-like immunoreactivity in rod outer segments. Similar experiments with antibodies against the α-subunits of the G(q) family of G proteins, which are known to activate PLCβ4, have also demonstrated G(α11)-like immunoreactivity in this location. Immunoblots of total proteins from whole retina or partially purified rod outer segments with anti-PLCβ4 and anti- G(α11) antibodies gave, respectively, a single protein band of the expected molecular mass, suggesting specific labelings. The retinal locations of the two proteins were also supported by in situ hybridization experiments on mouse retina with probes specific for the corresponding mouse genes. These two proteins, or immunologically identical isoforms, therefore likely mediate the phosphoinositide signaling pathway in the rod outer segment. At present, G(α11) or a G(α11)-like protein represents the only G protein besides transducin (which mediates phototransduction) identified so far in the rod outer segment. Although absent in the outer segment layer, other PLC isoforms as well as G(αq) (another G(q) family member), are present elsewhere in the retina.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1995-2000
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 4 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • G protein
  • phospholipase C
  • visual transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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