Control of rhodopsin activity in vision

Eye (Lond). 1998;12 ( Pt 3b):521-5. doi: 10.1038/eye.1998.140.


Although rhodopsin's role in activating the phototransduction cascade is well known, the processes that deactivate rhodopsin, and thus the rest of the cascade, are less well understood. At least three proteins appear to play a role: rhodopsin kinase, arrestin and recoverin. Here we review recent physiological studies of the molecular mechanisms of rhodopsin deactivation. The approach was to monitor the light responses of individual mouse rods in which rhodopsin was altered or arrestin was deleted by transgenic techniques. Removal of rhodopsin's carboxy-terminal residues which contain phosphorylation sites implicated in deactivation, prolonged the flash response 20-fold and caused it to become highly variable. In rods that did not express arrestin the flash response recovered partially, but final recovery was slowed over 100-fold. These results are consistent with the notion that phosphorylation initiates rhodopsin deactivation and that arrestin binding completes the process. The stationary night blindness of Oguchi disease, associated with null mutations in the genes for arrestin or rhodopsin kinase, presumably results from impaired rhodopsin deactivation, like that revealed by the experiments on transgenic animals.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arrestin / physiology
  • Eye Proteins*
  • G-Protein-Coupled Receptor Kinase 1
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Night Blindness / physiopathology
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Kinases / physiology
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / metabolism*
  • Rhodopsin / metabolism*
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*


  • Arrestin
  • Eye Proteins
  • Rhodopsin
  • Protein Kinases
  • G-Protein-Coupled Receptor Kinase 1
  • GRK1 protein, human
  • Grk1 protein, mouse