Null mutation in the rhodopsin kinase gene slows recovery kinetics of rod and cone phototransduction in man

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Jan 6;95(1):328-33. doi: 10.1073/pnas.95.1.328.


Rhodopsin kinase (RK), a specialized G-protein-coupled receptor kinase expressed in retina, is involved in quenching of light-induced signal transduction in photoreceptors. The role of RK in recovery after photoactivation has been explored in vitro and in vivo experimentally but has not been specifically defined in humans. We investigated the effects on human vision of a mutation in the RK gene causing Oguchi disease, a recessively inherited retinopathy. In vitro experiments demonstrated that the mutation, a deletion of exon 5, abolishes the enzymatic activity of RK and is likely a null. Both a homozygote and heterozygote with this RK mutation had recovery phase abnormalities of rod-isolated photoresponses by electroretinography (ERG); photoactivation was normal. Kinetics of rod bleaching adaptation by psychophysics were dramatically slowed in the homozygote but normal final thresholds were attained. Light adaptation was normal at low backgrounds but became abnormal at higher backgrounds. A slight slowing of cone deactivation kinetics in the homozygote was detected by ERG. Cone bleaching adaptation and background adaptation were normal. In this human in vivo condition without a functional RK and probable lack of phosphorylation and arrestin binding to activated rhodopsin, reduction of photolyzed chromophore and regeneration processes with 11-cis-retinal probably constitute the sole pathway for recovery of rod sensitivity. The role of RK in rods would thus be to accelerate inactivation of activated rhodopsin molecules that in concert with regeneration leads to the normal rate of recovery of sensitivity. Cones may rely mainly on regeneration for the inactivation of photolyzed visual pigment, but RK also contributes to cone recovery.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • COS Cells
  • Child
  • Electroretinography
  • Exons
  • Eye Proteins*
  • G-Protein-Coupled Receptor Kinase 1
  • Gene Deletion
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Night Blindness / enzymology
  • Night Blindness / genetics*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Protein Kinases / genetics*
  • Vision, Ocular / genetics*


  • Eye Proteins
  • Protein Kinases
  • G-Protein-Coupled Receptor Kinase 1
  • GRK1 protein, human