Two minor proteins of frog rod outer segments become phosphorylated when retinas are incubated in the dark with 32Pi. The proteins, designated component I (13,000 daltons) and component II (12,000 daltons), are dephosphorylated when retinas are illuminated. The dephosphorylation is reversible; the two proteins are rephosphorylated when illumination ceases. Each outer segment contains approximately 10(6( molecules of components I and II. These remain associated with both fragmented and intact outer segments but dissociate from the outer segment membranes under hypoosmotic conditions. The extent of the light-induced dephosphorylation increases with higher intensities of illumination and is maximal with continuous illumination which bleaches 5.0 x 10(5) rhodopsin molecules/outer segment per second. Light which bleaches 5.0 x 10(3) rhodopsin molecules/outer segment per second causes approximately half-maximal dephosphorylation. This same intermediate level of illumination causes half-suppression of the light-sensitive permeability mechanism in isolated outer segments (Brodie and Bownds. 1976. J. Gen Physiol. 68:1-11) and also induces a half-maximal decrease in their cyclic GMP content (Woodruff et al. 1977. J. Gen. Physiol. 69:667-679). The phosphorylation of components I and II is enhanced by the addition of cyclic GMP or cyclic AMP to either retinas or isolated rod outer segments maintained in the dark. Several pharmacological agents which influence cyclic GMP levels in outer segments, including calcium, cause similar effects on the phosphorylation of components I and II and outer segment permeability. Although the cyclic nucleotide-stimulated phosphorylation can be observed either in retinas or isolated rod outer segments, the light-induced dephosphorylation is observed only in intact retinas.

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