Evolution of the calcium feedback steps of vertebrate phototransduction

Trevor D. Lamb, David M. Hunt

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17 Citations (Scopus)


We examined the genes encoding the proteins that mediate the Ca-feedback regulatory system in vertebrate rod and cone phototransduction. These proteins comprise four families: recoverin/visinin, the guanylyl cyclase activating proteins (GCAPs), the guanylyl cyclases (GCs) and the sodium/ calcium-potassium exchangers (NCKXs). We identified a paralogon containing at least 36 phototransduction genes from at least fourteen families, including all four of the families involved in the Ca-feedback loop (recoverin/visinin, GCAPs, GCs and NCKXs). By combining analyses of gene synteny with analyses of the molecular phylogeny for each of these four families of genes for Ca-feedback regulation, we have established the likely pattern of gene duplications and losses underlying the expansion of isoforms, both before and during the two rounds of whole-genome duplication (2R WGD) that occurred in early vertebrate evolution. Furthermore, by combining our results with earlier evidence on the timing of duplication of the visual G-protein receptor kinase genes, we propose that specialization of proto-vertebrate photoreceptor cells for operation at high and low light intensities preceded the emergence of rhodopsin, which occurred during 2R WGD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number180119
JournalOpen Biology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018


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