Phototransduction: crystal clear

Trends Biochem Sci. 2003 Sep;28(9):479-87. doi: 10.1016/S0968-0004(03)00172-5.


Vertebrate visual phototransduction represents one of the best-characterized G-protein-coupled receptor-mediated signaling pathways. Structural analyses of rhodopsin, G protein, arrestin and several other phototransduction components have revealed common folds and motifs that are important for function. Static and dynamic information has been acquired through the application of X-ray diffraction, solution and solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy's, electron and atomic force microscopy's, and a host of indirect structural methods. A comprehensive understanding of phototransduction requires further structural work on individual components and their relevant complexes in solution and the native disk membrane. Given the accelerated pace of structure determination, it is anticipated that this will be the first G-protein-coupled pathway for which a complete molecular description is ultimately available.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Eye Proteins / chemistry
  • Eye Proteins / metabolism
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Conformation
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / chemistry*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Vision, Ocular*


  • Eye Proteins
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled