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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Mar 28, 1995; 92(7): 3070–3074.

Defective intracellular transport is the molecular basis of rhodopsin-dependent dominant retinal degeneration.


Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of hereditary human diseases that cause retinal degeneration and lead to eventual blindness. More than 25% of all RP cases in humans appear to be caused by dominant mutations in the gene encoding the visual pigment rhodopsin. The mechanism by which the mutant rhodopsin proteins cause dominant retinal degeneration is still unclear. Interestingly, the great majority of these mutants appear to produce misfolded rhodopsin. We now report the isolation and characterization of 13 rhodopsin mutations that act dominantly to cause retinal degeneration in Drosophila; four of these correspond to identical substitutions in human autosomal dominant RP patients. We demonstrate that retinal degeneration results from interference in the maturation of wild-type rhodopsin by the mutant proteins.

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