Purpose: To test the hypothesis that Regulator of G-protein Signaling 9 (RGS9-1) is necessary for the normal inactivation of retinal cones.
Methods: Mice having the gene RGS9-1 inactivated in both alleles (RGS9-1 -/-) were tested between the ages 8-10 weeks with electroretinographic (ERG) protocols that isolate cone-driven responses. Immunohistochemistry was performed with a primary antibody against RGS9-1 (anti-RGS9-1c), with the secondary conjugated to fluorescein isothiocyanate, and with rhodamine-conjugated peanut agglutinin.
Results: (1) Immunohistochemistry showed RGS9-1 to be strongly expressed in the cones of wildtype (WT is C57BL/6) mice, but absent from the cones of RGS9-1 mice. (2) Cone-driven b-wave responses of dark-adapted RGS9-1 -/- mice had saturating amplitudes and sensitivities in the midwave and UV regions of the spectrum equal to or slightly greater than those of WT (C57BL/6) mice. (3) Cone-driven b-wave and a-wave responses of RGS9-1 -/- mice recovered much more slowly than those of WT after a strong conditioning flash: for a flash estimated to isomerize 1.2% of the M-cone pigment and 0.9% of the UV-cone pigment, recovery of 50% saturating amplitude was approximately 60-fold slower than in WT.
Conclusions: (1) The amplitudes and sensitivities of the cone-driven responses indicate that cones and cone-driven neurons in RGS9-1 -/- mice have normal generator currents. (2) The greatly retarded recovery of cone-driven responses of RGS9-1 -/- mice relative to those of WT mice establishes that RGS9-1 is required for normal inactivation of the cone phototransduction cascades of both UV- and M-cones.