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Cell. 2000 Jul 21;102(2):175-87.

Genetic evidence for selective transport of opsin and arrestin by kinesin-II in mammalian photoreceptors.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093, USA.


To test whether kinesin-II is important for transport in the mammalian photoreceptor cilium, and to identify its potential cargoes, we used Cre-loxP mutagenesis to remove the kinesin-II subunit, KIF3A, specifically from photoreceptors. Complete loss of KIF3A caused large accumulations of opsin, arrestin, and membranes within the photoreceptor inner segment, while the localization of alpha-transducin was unaffected. Other membrane, organelle, and transport markers, as well as opsin processing appeared normal. Loss of KIF3A ultimately caused apoptotic photoreceptor cell death similar to a known opsin transport mutant. The data suggest that kinesin-II is required to transport opsin and arrestin from the inner to the outer segment and that blocks in this transport pathway lead to photoreceptor cell death as found in retinitis pigmentosa.

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