Clint L. Makino

Clint L. Makino, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Physiology & Biophysics


The rate of cGMP synthesis modulates visual transduction

In retinal rods, cGMP is the second messenger that links photon capture by rhodopsin on internal disk membranes to ion channel activity on the plasma membrane. Rhodopsin photoexcitation leads to the hydrolysis of cGMP and subsequent closure of cGMP-gated channels, curtailing the entry of Na+ and Ca2+. During response recovery, retina-specific guanylyl cyclases (retGCs) replenish cGMP, reopen the channels, and restore the influx of cations. To facilitate the recovery, guanylyl cyclase activating proteins (GCAPs) sense the decrease in Ca2+ caused by illumination and greatly stimulate the rate of cGMP synthesis.

All vertebrate rods use at least two GCAPs: GCAP1 and GCAP2. Why are 2 types of GCAPS necessary? Working closely with the Dizhoor laboratory at Salus University, we explored the basis for the dual system by using electrophysiological methods to study rods of mutant mice that lack one or both GCAPs. Deletion of GCAP2 did not change the amplitude of the single photon response, but slowed its recovery.  Elimination of GCAP1 caused the photon response to rise for twice as long to an amplitude that was twice as large. Although knockout of GCAP2 did not affect GCAP1 expression, knockout of GCAP1 did cause an up-regulation of GCAP2 as detected by immunofluorescence and Western blot. The overexpression of GCAP2 resulted in acceleration of the response recovery rather than the slowdown that was expected from the loss of GCAP1 alone.


Lab Page


Faculty Profile