Bicarbonate Modulates Photoreceptor Guanylate Cyclase (ROS-GC) Catalytic Activity [Neurobiology]

March 12th, 2015 by Duda, T., Wen, X.-H., Isayama, T., Sharma, R. K., Makino, C. L.

By generating the second messenger cGMP in retinal rods and cones, ROS-GC plays a central role in visual transduction. GCAPs link cGMP synthesis to the light-induced fall in [Ca2+]i to help set absolute sensitivity and assure prompt recovery of the response to light. The present report discloses a surprising feature of this system; ROS-GC is a sensor of bicarbonate. Recombinant ROS-GCs synthesized cGMP from GTP at faster rates in the presence of bicarbonate with an ED50 of 27 mM for ROS-GC1 and 39 mM for ROS-GC2. The effect required neither Ca2+ nor use of the GCAPs domains, however, stimulation of ROS-GC1 was more powerful in the presence of GCAP1 or GCAP2 at low [Ca2+]. When applied to retinal photoreceptors, bicarbonate enhanced the circulating current, decreased sensitivity to flashes and accelerated flash response kinetics. Bicarbonate was effective when applied either to the outer or inner segment of red-sensitive cones. In contrast, bicarbonate exerted an effect when applied to the inner segment of rods, but had little efficacy when applied to the outer segment. The findings define a new regulatory mechanism of the ROS-GC system that impacts visual transduction and is likely to affect the course of retinal diseases caused by cGMP toxicity.