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J Biol Chem. 2000 Feb 25;275(8):5370-8.

Disulfide-mediated oligomerization of Peripherin/Rds and Rom-1 in photoreceptor disk membranes. Implications for photoreceptor outer segment morphogenesis and degeneration.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z3, Canada.


Peripherin/Rds is a tetraspanning membrane protein that has been implicated in photoreceptor outer segment morphogenesis and inherited retinal degenerative diseases. Together with the structurally related protein, Rom-1, it forms a complex along the rims of rod and cone disc membranes. We have compared the oligomeric structure of these proteins from nonreduced and dithiothreitol reduced membranes by velocity sedimentation, SDS-gel electrophoresis, immunoaffinity chromatography, and chemical cross-linking. Under reducing conditions peripherin/Rds and Rom-1 existed as homomeric and heteromeric core complexes devoid of intermolecular disulfide bonds. Under nonreducing conditions core complexes associated through intermolecular disulfide bonds to form oligomers. One intermediate-size oligomer contained monomers and disulfide-linked dimers of peripherin/Rds and Rom-1, while larger oligomers consisted only of disulfide-linked peripherin/Rds dimers when analyzed on nonreducing SDS gels. Consistent with this result, disc membranes contained twice as much peripherin/Rds as Rom-1. Peripherin/Rds individually expressed in COS-1 cells also formed disulfide-linked oligomers bridged through Cys-150 residues, whereas Rom-1 showed little tendency to form oligomers. These results indicate that peripherin/Rds and Rom-1 associate noncovalently to form multisubunit core complexes. Peripherin/Rds containing core complexes interact through specific intermolecular disulfide bonds to form oligomers which may play a crucial role in photoreceptor disc morphogenesis and retinal degenerative diseases.

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