Visual Phototransduction Trapped in Action

Yang Gao, a graduate student in , working in Rick Cerione’s laboratory, is the first author on a recently published paper in The Journal of Biological Chemistry, entitled Structure-function Characterization of a Signaling-active Rhodopsin-G protein Complex” that was selected as an “Editor’s Pick.”  This is a selection by the Editors who feel that the paper is in the top 2% of the manuscripts in significance and importance that they will review in a year.  The study describes the isolation of a fully functional complex between the photoreceptor, rhodopsin, which is responsible for the first step in vertebrate vision, and its signaling G-protein partner, setting the stage for detailed structural information for this important complex.  The paper presents structural images for the complex obtained through small-angle x-ray scattering, performed at the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron (CHESS), and electron microscopy, done in collaboration with a group at the University of Michigan.  Rhodopsin is a member of the largest family of membrane receptors, called G protein-coupled receptors, which represent major pharmaceutical targets and so structural information for these receptors bound to their G protein partners has been greatly sought after by both the basic research and pharmaceutical communities. The co-authors are Sekar Ramachandran, Jon Erickson from Rick Cerione’s lab and Gerwin Westfield and Georgios Skiniotis from University of Michigan.


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Yang Gao