Photoreceptor guanylate cyclases: A review

Edward N Pugh Jr, Teresa Duda, Ari Sitaramayya, Rameshwar K. Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


Almost three decades of research in the field of photoreceptor guanylate cyclases are discussed in this review. Primarily, it focuses on the members of membrane-bound guanylate cyclases found in the outer segments of vertebrate rods. These cyclases represent a new guanylate cyclase subfamily, termed ROS-GC, which distinguishes itself from the peptide receptor guanylate cyclase family that it is not extracellularly regulated. It is regulated, instead, by the intracellularly-generated Ca2+ signals. A remarkable feature of this regulation is that ROS-GC is a transduction switch for both the low and high Ca2+ signals. The low Ca2+ signal transduction pathway is linked to phototransduction, but the physiological relevance of the high Ca2+ signal transduction pathway is not yet clear; it may be linked to neuronal synaptic activity. The review is divided into eight sections. In Section I, the field of guanylate cyclase is introduced and the scope of the review is briefly explained; Section II covers a brief history of the investigations and ideas surrounding the discovery of rod guanylate cyclase. The first five subsections of Section III review the experimental efforts to quantify the guanylate cyclase activity of rods, including in vitro and in situ biochemistry, and also the work done since 1988 in which guanylate cyclase activity has been determined. In the remaining three subsections an analytical evaluation of the Ca2+ modulation of the rod guanylate cyclase activity related to phototransduction is presented. Section IV deals with the issues of a biochemical nature: isolation and purification, subcellular localization and functional properties of rod guanylate cyclase. Section V summarizes work on the cloning of the guanylate cyclases, analysis of their primary structures, and determination of their location with in situ hybridization. Section VI summarizes studies on the regulation of guanylate cyclases, with a focus on guanylate cyclases activating proteins. In Section VII, the evidence about the localization and functional role of guanylate cyclases in other retinal cells, especially in 'on-bipolar' cells, in which guanylate cyclase most likely plays a critical role in electrical signaling, is discussed. The review concludes with Section VIII, with remarks about the future directions of research on retinal guanylate cyclases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-473
Number of pages45
JournalBioscience Reports
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Calcium
  • Guanylate cyclase
  • Photoreceptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Photoreceptor guanylate cyclases: A review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this