Retinal rods and cones have distinct G protein βand γ subunits

Y. W. Peng, J. D. Robishaw, M. A. Levine, K. W. Yau

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101 Scopus citations


Guanine nucleotide-binding proteins (G proteins) involved in transmembrane signal-transduction processes are heterotrimers composed of α, β, and γ subunits. The α subunit shows great diversity and is thought to confer functional specificity to a particular G protein. By contrast, the β and γ subunits appear much less diverse; in particular, the β subunit is believed to have no role in G protein specificity. Using immunocytochemistry, we found distinct distribution patterns for different β and γ subunits in the retina. In particular, rod and cone photoreceptors, which both subserve phototransduction but differ in light-response properties, have different βand γ subunits in their outer segments. Thus, the G protein mediating phototransduction shows cell-specific forms of the β and γ subunits in addition to the a subunit. This surprising finding supports the hypothesis that these subunits may also contribute to functional specificity of a G protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10882-10886
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number22
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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