Retinal photoreceptor phosphodiesterase (PDE6), a key enzyme for phototransduction, consists of a catalytic subunit complex (Pαβ) and two inhibitory subunits (Pγs). Pαβ has two noncatalytic cGMP-binding sites. Here, using bovine PDE preparations, we show the role of these cGMP-binding sites in PDE regulation. Pαβγγ and its transducin-activated form, Pαβγ, contain two and one cGMP, respectively. Only Pαβγ shows [3H]cGMP binding with a Kd∼ 50 nm and Pγ inhibits the [3H]cGMP binding. Binding of cGMP to Pαβγ is suppressed during its formation, implying that cGMP binding is not involved in Pαβγγ activation. Once bound to Pαβγ, [3H]cGMP is not dissociated even in the presence of a 1000-fold excess of unlabeled cGMP, binding of cGMP changes the apparent Stokes’ radius of Pαβγ, and the amount of [3H]cGMP-bound Pαβγ trapped by a filter is spontaneously increased during its incubation. These results suggest that Pαβγ slowly changes its conformation after cGMP binding, i.e. after formation of Pαβγ containing two cGMPs. Binding of Pγ greatly shortens the time to detect the increase in the filter-trapped level of [3H]cGMP-bound Pαβγ, but alters neither the level nor its Stokes’ radius. These results suggest that Pγ accelerates the conformational change, but does not add another change. These observations are consistent with the view that Pαβγ changes its conformation during its deactivation and that the binding of cGMP and Pγ is crucial for this change. These observations also imply that Pαβγγ changes its conformation during its activation and that release of Pγ and cGMP is essential for this change.
Structured digital abstract