The hydrolysis of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cyclic GMP) and of guanosine triphosphate (GTP) by the broken rods of the frog retina after a flash of light have been studied in vitro with a constant perfusion method. The activation has an onset apparently instantaneous as observed with the existing possible time resolution of 3 s. The activation is followed by a partial inactivation that does not bring the activity back to the pre-flash levl. GTP or the nonhdrolysable guanyl-5′-ylimidodiphosphate (GMP-PNP) is required for the normal light-activation of the phosphodiesterase and in its absence both the speed of activation and the sensitivity are greatly reduced. The activation speed, the sensitivity (threshold at approx. 0.00004% bleaching), and the kinetic constants do not exclude a direct role in the process of excitation for the phosphodiesterase and suggest a subsidiary but as yet undefined role for the GTPase. © 1979.
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