Mechanism of light-induced translocation of arrestin and transducin in photoreceptors: Interaction-restricted diffusion

Vladlen Z. Slepak, James B. Hurley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

51 Scopus citations


Many signaling proteins change their location within cells in response to external stimuli. In photoreceptors, this phenomenon is remarkably robust. The G protein of rod photoreceptors and rod transducin concentrates in the outer segments (OS) of these neurons in darkness. Within ∼30 minutes after illumination, rod transducin redistributes throughout all of the outer and inner compartments of the cell. Visual arrestin concurrently relocalises from the inner compartments to become sequestered primarily within the OS. In the past several years, the question of whether these proteins are actively moved by molecular motors or whether they are redistributed by simple diffusion has been extensively debated. This review focuses on the most essential works in the area and concludes that the basic principle driving this protein movement is diffusion. The directionality and light dependence of this movement is achieved by the interactions of arrestin and transducin with their spatially restricted binding partners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-9
Number of pages8
JournalIUBMB life
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008



  • Arrestin
  • Cone
  • Diffusion
  • G protein-mediate signaling
  • Photoreceptors
  • Retina
  • Rhodopsin
  • Rod
  • Transducin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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