New focus on regulation of the rod photoreceptor phosphodiesterase

Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2021 Aug;69:99-107. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2021 May 1.


Rod photoreceptor phosphodiesterase (PDE6) is the key catalytic enzyme of visual phototransduction. PDE6 is the only member of the phosphodiesterase family that consists of a heterodimeric catalytic core composed of PDE6α and PDE6β subunits and two inhibitory PDE6γ subunits. Both PDE6α and PDE6β contain two regulatory GAF domains and one catalytic domain. GAF domains and the tightly bound PDE6γ subunits allosterically regulate the activity of the catalytic domain in association with the GTP-bound transducin alpha subunit (Gtα-GTP). Recent cryo-electron microscopy structures of the PDE6αγβγ and PDE6αγβγ-(Gtα-GTP)2 complexes have provided valuable knowledge shedding additional light on the allosteric activation of PDE6 by Gtα-GTP. Here we discuss recent developments in our understanding of the mechanism of PDE6 activation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Catalytic Domain
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 6* / metabolism
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases* / metabolism
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / metabolism


  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 6