Visual transduction captures widespread interest because its G-protein signaling motif recurs throughout nature yet is uniquely accessible for study in the photoreceptor cells. The light-activated currents generated at the photoreceptor outer segment provide an easily observed real-time measure of the output of the signaling cascade, and the ease of obtaining pure samples of outer segments in reasonable quantity facilitates biochemical experiments. A quiet revolution in the study of the mechanism has occurred during the past decade with the advent of gene-targeting techniques. These have made it possible to observe how transduction is perturbed by the deletion, overexpression, or mutation of specific components of the transduction apparatus.
- G protein
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