The 9-methyl group of 11-cis-retinal plays a crucial role in photoexcitation of the visual pigment rhodopsin. A hydrogen-substituted analogue, 11-cis-9-desmethylretinal, combines with opsin to form a pigment that produces abnormal photoproducts and diminished activation of the GTP-binding protein transducin in vitro. We have measured the formation of this analogue pigment in bleached salamander rods and determined the size and shape of its quantal response. In addition, we have characterized the influence of opsin and newly formed analogue pigment on the quantal response to native porphyropsin. We find that, as 11-cis-9-desmethylretinal combines with opsin in bleached rods, the amplitude of the quantal response from residual native pigment is elevated by approximately 7.5-fold to 0.15 +/- 0.09 pA, a value close to the amplitude of the quantal response before bleach (0.31 +/- 0.10 pA). When activated by light, the new analogue pigment produces a quantal response that is approximately 30-fold smaller and decays approximately 5 times more slowly than that of native pigment in unbleached cells. We conclude that the 9-methyl group of retinal is not critical for conversion of opsin to its nondesensitizing state but that it is critical for the normal processes of activation and deactivation of metarhodopsin that give rise to the quantal response
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.