Cyclic GMP is the second messenger in phototransduction and regulates the photoreceptor current. In the present work, we tried to understand the regulation mechanism of cytoplasmic cGMP levels in frog photoreceptors by measuring the photoreceptor current using a truncated rod outer segment (tROS) preparation. Since exogenously applied substance diffuses into tROS from the truncated end, we could examine the biochemical reactions relating to the cGMP metabolism by manipulating the cytoplasmic chemical condition. In tROS, exogenously applied GTP produced a dark current whose amplitude was half-maximal at approximately 0.4 mM GTP. The conductance for this current was suppressed by light in a fashion similar to when it is activated by cGMP. In addition, no current was produced in the absence of Mg2+, which is known to be necessary for the guanylate cyclase activity. These results indicate that guanylate cyclase was present in tROS and synthesized cGMP from exogenously applied GTP. The enzyme activity was distributed throughout the rod outer segment. The amount of synthesized cGMP increased as the cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration of tROS decreased, which indicated the activation of guanylate cyclase at low Ca2+ concentrations. Half-maximal effect of Ca2+ was observed at approximately 100 nM. tROS contained the proteins involved in the phototransduction mechanism and therefore, we could examine the regulation of the light response waveform by Ca2+. At low Ca2+ concentrations, the time course of the light response was speeded up probably because cGMP recovery was facilitated by activation of the cyclase. Then, if the cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration of a photoreceptor decreases during light stimulation, the Ca2+ decrease may explain the acceleration of the light response during light adaptation. In tROS, however, we did observe an acceleration during repetitive light flashes when the cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration increased during the stimulation. This result suggests the presence of an additional light-dependent mechanism that is responsible for the acceleration of the light response during light adaptation.

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