Arrestins are proteins that arrest the activity of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). While it is well established that normal inactivation of photoexcited rhodopsin, the GPCR of rod phototransduction, requires arrestin (Arr1), it has been controversial whether the same requirement holds for cone opsin inactivation. Mouse cone photoreceptors express two distinct visual arrestins: Arr1 and Arr4. By means of recordings from cones of mice with one or both arrestins knocked out, this investigation establishes that a visual arrestin is required for normal cone inactivation. Arrestin-independent inactivation is 70-fold more rapid in cones than in rods, however. Dual arrestin expression in cones could be a holdover from ancient genome duplication events that led to multiple isoforms of arrestin, allowing evolutionary specialization of one form while the other maintains the basic function.
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