Cyclic GMP-gated channel and peripherin/rds-rom-1 complex of rod cells

Novartis Found Symp. 1999:224:249-61; discussion 261-4. doi: 10.1002/9780470515693.ch14.


The cGMP-gated channel and the peripherin/rds-rom-1 complex are two oligomeric membrane proteins that play key roles in the structure and function of photoreceptor outer segments. The channel is localized on the plasma membrane where it controls the flow of Na+ and Ca2+ into the outer segment in response to light-induced changes in cGMP. The rod channel consists of two homologous subunits, designated alpha and beta, which assemble into a heterotetrameric complex. Both subunits contain a core structural unit consisting of six transmembrane segments, a pore region and a cGMP binding domain. The alpha subunit is the dominant functional subunit since it forms a functional channel by itself. The beta subunit does not assemble into a functional channel by itself, but modulates the activity of the channel. The peripherin/rds-rom-1 complex is localized along the rim region of disk membranes where it plays a crucial role in disk morphogenesis. This complex consists of two peripherin/rds and two rom-1 subunits that interact non-covalently to form a heterotetramer. Peripherin/rds is the dominant subunit since, in the absence of rom-1, it self-assembles into a homotetramer that effectively supports outer segment disk formation and structure. Rom-1 on its own does not initiate outer segment formation. Instead, it plays a minor role in fine tuning disk structure. Recently, peripherin/rds-containing tetramers have been shown to form disulfide-mediated higher-order oligomers. This novel oligomerization is suggested to play a central role in outer segment disk formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cyclic GMP / metabolism*
  • Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Cation Channels
  • Eye Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / metabolism*
  • Ion Channel Gating*
  • Ion Channels / metabolism*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Peripherins
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / metabolism*
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / physiology
  • Tetraspanins


  • Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Cation Channels
  • Eye Proteins
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • Ion Channels
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • PRPH protein, human
  • PRPH2 protein, human
  • Peripherins
  • ROM1 protein, human
  • Tetraspanins
  • Cyclic GMP