G proteins and phototransduction

Vadim Y. Arshavsky, Trevor D. Lamb, Edward N Pugh Jr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

468 Scopus citations


Phototransduction is the process by which a photon of light captured by a molecule of visual pigment generates an electrical response in a photoreceptor cell. Vertebrate rod phototransduction is one of the best-studied G protein signaling pathways. In this pathway the photoreceptor-specific G protein, transducin, mediates between the visual pigment, rhodopsin, and the effector enzyme, cGMP phosphodiesterase. This review focuses on two quantitative features of G protein signaling in phototransduction: signal amplification and response timing. We examine how the interplay between the mechanisms that contribute to amplification and those that govern termination of G protein activity determine the speed and the sensitivity of the cellular response to light.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-187
Number of pages35
JournalAnnual Review of Physiology
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Amplification
  • Phosphodiesterase
  • Signal termination
  • Transducin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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