A quantitative account of mammalian rod phototransduction with PDE6 dimeric activation: Responses to bright flashes

Academic Article


  • We develop an improved quantitative model of mammalian rod phototransduction, and we apply it to the prediction of responses to bright flashes of light. We take account of the recently characterized dimeric nature of PDE6 activation, where the configuration of primary importance has two transducin molecules bound. We simulate the stochastic nature of the activation and shut-off reactions to generate the predicted kinetics of the active molecular species on the disc membrane surfaces, and then we integrate the differential equations for the downstream cytoplasmic reactions to obtain the predicted electrical responses. The simulated responses recover the qualitative form of bright-flash response families recorded from mammalian rod photoreceptors. Furthermore, they provide an accurate description of the relationship between the time spent in saturation and flash intensity, predicting the transition between first and second 'dominant time constants' to occur at an intensity around 5000 isomerizations per flash, when the rate of transducin activation is taken to be 1250 transducins s−1 per activated rhodopsin. This rate is consistent with estimates from light-scattering experiments, but is around fourfold higher than has typically been assumed in other studies. We conclude that our model and parameters provide a compelling description of rod photoreceptor bright-flash responses.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Open Biology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Lamb TD; Kraft TW
  • Volume

  • 10
  • Issue

  • 1