Timely deactivation of G-protein signaling is essential for the proper function of many cells, particularly neurons. Termination of the light response of retinal rods requires GTP hydrolysis by the G-protein transducin, which is catalyzed by a protein complex that includes regulator of G-protein signaling RGS9-1 and the G-protein beta subunit Gbeta5-L. Disruption of the Gbeta5 gene in mice (Gbeta5-/-) abolishes the expression of Gbeta5-L in the retina and also greatly reduces the expression level of RGS9-1. We examined transduction in dark- and light-adapted rods from wild-type and Gbeta5-/- mice. Responses of Gbeta5-/- rods were indistinguishable in all respects from those of RGS9-/- rods. Loss of Gbeta5-L (and RGS9-1) had no effect on the activation of the G-protein cascade, but profoundly slowed its deactivation and interfered with the speeding of incremental dim flashes during light adaptation. Both RGS9-/- and Gbeta5-/- responses were consistent with another factor weakly regulating GTP hydrolysis by transducin in a manner proportional to the inward current. Our results indicate that a complex containing RGS9-1-Gbeta5-L is essential for normal G-protein deactivation and rod function. In addition, our light adaptation studies support the notion than an additional weak GTPase-accelerating factor in rods is regulated by intracellular calcium and/or cGMP.