Rod phototransduction in transgenic mice expressing a mutant opsin gene

J Opt Soc Am A Opt Image Sci Vis. 1996 Mar;13(3):577-85. doi: 10.1364/josaa.13.000577.


Rod-mediated electroretinograms (ERG's) were recorded from transgenic mice expressing a mouse opsin gene with three point mutations (V20G, P23H, and P27L; termed VPP mice) and from normal littermates. The leading edge of the alpha wave was analyzed in relation to a computational model of rod phototransduction [J. Physiol. 499, 719 (1992)], in which values for the maximum response (RmP3), transduction gain (S), and transduction delay (td) are derived from alpha-wave data. VPP mice exhibited an age-related decrease in RmP3. This decrease was consistent with reductions in the number of rod photoreceptors and in the length of rod outer segments observed in previous histological studies of the VPP retina. Values of S determined for the VPP mice were within the normal range, consistent with a normal amplification of the visual signal in VPP rods. At high stimulus intensities, both normal and VPP mice exhibited a decrease in S, which may reflect depletion of a phototransduction substrate at these stimulus levels. We examined the recovery of the alpha wave after a bright conditioning flash by measuring the rod alpha-wave response to a probe flash presented at varying times after the conditioning stimulus. In both normal and VPP mice a fourfold (0.6-log-unit) increase in conditioning stimulus intensity increased both T50%, the period required for half-maximal recovery, and tau, the exponential time constant describing recovery. However, the increases in T50% and tau were significantly greater in VPP mice, indicating an abnormally slow recovery of the flash response in VPP rods.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electroretinography
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Light
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic / genetics*
  • Mice, Transgenic / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation*
  • Reference Values
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Rod Opsins / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Rod Opsins