Differences in transduction between rod and cone photoreceptors: an exploration of the role of calcium homeostasis

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 1994 Aug;4(4):488-95. doi: 10.1016/0959-4388(94)90048-5.


Rod and cone photoreceptors respond to light with distinct sensitivity and kinetics. Recent biochemical and electrophysiological studies demonstrate that the enzymes of the phototransduction cascade are similar, but not identical, in these two photoreceptor types. In contrast, light or voltage stimulation generates changes in the cytoplasmic concentration of Ca2+ in the outer segment that are far larger and faster in cones than in rods. This distinction reflects rod-cone differences in each of the elements that control Ca2+ homeostasis: cell volume, the rate of Ca2+ clearance from the outer segment, the cytoplasmic Ca2+ buffering, and the Ca2+ influx through cGMP-gated ion channels.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / physiology*
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Photochemistry
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Calcium