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Hum Mol Genet. 2002 Apr 1;11(7):823-31.

The Leber congenital amaurosis gene product AIPL1 is localized exclusively in rod photoreceptors of the adult human retina.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London, Bath Street, London EC1V 9EL, UK.


Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) is the most severe inherited retinal dystrophy resulting in markedly impaired vision or blindness at birth. LCA is characterized by an extinguished electroretinogram in infancy, which is thought to be indicative of an early and severe impairment of both the rod and cone photoreceptors in the human retina. Recently, the aryl hydrocarbon receptor-interacting protein-like 1 (AIPL1) gene was identified as the fourth causative gene of LCA. AIPL1 encodes a 384 amino acid protein of unknown function. We have generated a polyclonal antibody against a peptide from a unique region within the primate AIPL1 protein, which detects a protein of approximately 43 kDa in human retinal extracts. A screen of human tissues and immortalized cell lines with this antibody reveals AIPL1 to be specific to human retina and cell lines of retinal origin (Y79 retinoblastoma cells). Within the retina, AIPL1 was detected only in the rod photoreceptor cells of the peripheral and central human retina. The AIPL1 staining pattern extended within the rod photoreceptor cells from the inner segments, through the rod nuclei to the rod photoreceptor synaptic spherules in the outer plexiform layer. AIPL1 was not detected in the cone photoreceptors of peripheral or central human retina. This study is the first to suggest that AIPL1 performs a function essential to the maintenance of rod photoreceptor function.

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