Purpose: In the Gbeta5(-/-) mouse, the electroretinogram (ERG) b-wave is absent, and the R7 subfamily of regulators of G protein signaling (RGS), which includes RGS6, -7, -9, and -11, is downregulated. Mutant mouse strains deficient in RGS7 or -11 were characterized, and the SG711 strain which is deficient in both proteins was examined, to learn whether the loss of some of these RGS proteins causes the absence of the ERG b-wave.
Methods: Antibodies to RGS7 and -11 were generated to determine their expression levels and localizations in retinas with various genetic backgrounds by Western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry, respectively. The implicit times and amplitudes of ERG a- and b-waves were analyzed to examine photoreceptor and bipolar cell functions.
Results: RGS7 and -11 co-localized to the dendritic tips of the ON-bipolar cells. In the RGS11(-/-) mouse, the level of RGS7 protein increased. However, the level of RGS11 protein remained unchanged in the RGS7 mutant mouse, where a truncated RGS7 protein was expressed due to the deletion of exon 10. In the SG711 mouse retina, the Gbeta5-S protein level was reduced. The ERG b-wave of SG711 mice was markedly delayed. In contrast, RGS11(-/-) mice showed a moderately delayed b-wave, whereas the RGS7 mutant mice showed normal ERG responses.
Conclusions: The data demonstrate the presence of a delayed ERG b-wave in SG711 mice and a functionally redundant role for RGS11 and -7 at the tips of ON-bipolar cell dendrites. These results suggest that RGS11 or -7 works as the major physiological GAP (GTPase acceleration protein) for Galphao1 in ON-bipolar cells.