Teleost retinal cones contract in the light and elongate in the dark. In the green sunfish, Lepomis cyanellus, the necklike myoid region of the cone contracts from as much as 120 micrometers (midnight dark-adapted) to 6 micrometers in fully light-adapted state. When dark-adapted fish are exposed to light (1.4 lux), cone myoids contract with a linear rate of 1.5 +/- 0.1 micrometers/min. We report here that detergent-lysed motile models of teleost retinal cones exhibit calcium- and ATP-dependent reactivated contraction, with morphology and rate comparable to that observed in vivo. For reactivation studies isolated dark-adapted retinas were lysed with nonionic detergent Brij-58 (0.1-1.0%). In reactivation medium containing 10(-5) M free calcium and 4 mM ATP, the lysed cones contracted with normal morphology at in vivo rates (1.4 +/- 1 micrometer/min). Little contraction was observed if ATP or detergent was deleted from the medium or if free calcium levels were less than 10(-8) M. Ultrastructural examination of cone models lysed with 1% Brij-58 revealed that, in spite of extensive extraction of the cytoplasmic matrix, cytoskeletal components (thin filaments, intermediate filaments, microtubules) were still present. Thus we have produced extensively extracted motile models of teleost retinal cones which undergo calcium- and ATP-dependent reactivated contraction with normal morphology at physiological rate.

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