Characterization of Conformational Changes and Protein-Protein Interactions of Rod Photoreceptor Phosphodiesterase (PDE6)


As the central effector of visual transduction, the regulation of photoreceptor phosphodiesterase (PDE6) is controlled by both allosteric mechanisms and extrinsic binding partners. However, the conformational changes and interactions of PDE6 with known interacting proteins are poorly understood. Using a fluorescence detection system for the analytical ultracentrifuge, we examined allosteric changes in PDE6 structure and protein-protein interactions with its inhibitory gamma-subunit, the prenyl-binding protein (PrBP/delta), and activated transducin. In solution, the PDE6 catalytic dimer (P alpha beta) exhibits a more asymmetric shape (axial ratio of 6.6) than reported previously. The inhibitory P gamma subunit behaves as an intrinsically disordered protein in solution but binds with high affinity to the catalytic dimer to reconstitute the holoenzyme without a detectable change in shape. Whereas the closely related PDE5 homodimer undergoes a significant change in its sedimentation properties upon cGMP binding to its regulatory cGMP binding site, no such change was detected upon ligand binding to the PDE6 catalytic dimer. However, when P alpha beta was reconstituted with P gamma truncation mutants lacking the C-terminal inhibitory region, cGMP-dependent allosteric changes were observed. PrBP/delta bound to the PDE6 holoenzyme with high affinity (K-D = 6.2 nM) and induced elongation of the protein complex. Binding of activated transducin to PDE6 holoenzyme resulted in a concentration-dependent increase in the sedimentation coefficient, reflecting a dynamic equilibrium between transducin and PDE6. We conclude that allosteric regulation of PDE6 is more complex than for PDE5 and is dependent on interactions of regions of P gamma with the catalytic dimer.

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Biological Chemistry


American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Scientific Contribution Number


Document Type



© 2012 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.