Purpose: To identify gene arrangement, chromosomal localization, and expression pattern of mouse guanylate cyclase activating proteins GCAP1 and GCAP2, retina-specific Ca2+-binding proteins, and photoreceptor guanylate cyclase activators.
Methods: The GCAP1 and GCAP2 genes were cloned from genomic libraries and sequenced. The chromosomal localization of the GCAP array was determined using fluorescent in situ hybridization. The expression of GCAP1 and GCAP2 in mouse retinal tissue was determined by immunocytochemistry.
Results: In this study, the mouse GCAP1 and GCAP2 gene array, its chromosomal localization, RNA transcripts, and immunolocalization of the gene products were fully characterized. The GCAP tail-to-tail array is located at the D band of chromosome 17. Each gene is transcribed into a single transcript of 0.8 kb (GCAP1) and 2 kb (GCAP2). Immunocytochemistry showed that both GCAP genes are expressed in retinal photoreceptor cells, but GCAP2 was nearly undetectable in cones. GCAP2 was also found in amacrine and ganglion cells of the inner retina. Light-adapted and dark-adapted retinas showed no significant difference in the distribution of the most intense GCAP2 staining within the outer segment and outer plexiform layers.
Conclusions: Identical GCAP gene structures and the existence of the tail-to-tail gene array in mouse and human suggest an ancient gene duplication-inversion event preceding mammalian diversification. Identification of both GCAPs in synaptic regions, and of GCAP2 in the inner retina suggest roles of these Ca-binding proteins in addition to regulation of phototransduction.