Light-driven translocation of signaling proteins in vertebrate photoreceptors

Trends Cell Biol. 2006 Nov;16(11):560-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2006.09.001. Epub 2006 Sep 22.


The dynamic localization of proteins within cells is often determined by environmental stimuli. In retinal photoreceptors, light exposure results in the massive translocation of three key signal transduction proteins, transducin, arrestin and recoverin, into and out of the outer segment compartment where phototransduction takes place. This phenomenon has rapidly taken the center stage of photoreceptor cell biology, thanks to the introduction of new quantitative and transgenic approaches. Here, we discuss evidence that intracellular protein translocation contributes to adaptation of photoreceptors to diurnal changes in ambient light intensity and summarize the current debate on whether it is driven by diffusion or molecular motors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diffusion
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Light*
  • Molecular Motor Proteins
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Vertebrate / chemistry*
  • Protein Transport


  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Molecular Motor Proteins