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J Biol Chem. 2005 May 13;280(19):18822-32. Epub 2005 Mar 8.

Role of photoreceptor-specific retinol dehydrogenase in the retinoid cycle in vivo.

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Department of Ophthalmology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-6485, USA.


The retinoid cycle is a recycling system that replenishes the 11-cis-retinal chromophore of rhodopsin and cone pigments. Photoreceptor-specific retinol dehydrogenase (prRDH) catalyzes reduction of all-trans-retinal to all-trans-retinol and is thought to be a key enzyme in the retinoid cycle. We disrupted mouse prRDH (human gene symbol RDH8) gene expression by targeted recombination and generated a homozygous prRDH knock-out (prRDH-/-) mouse. Histological analysis and electron microscopy of retinas from 6- to 8-week-old prRDH-/- mice revealed no structural differences of the photoreceptors or inner retina. For brief light exposure, absence of prRDH did not affect the rate of 11-cis-retinal regeneration or the decay of Meta II, the activated form of rhodopsin. Absence of prRDH, however, caused significant accumulation of all-trans-retinal following exposure to bright lights and delayed recovery of rod function as measured by electroretinograms and single cell recordings. Retention of all-trans-retinal resulted in slight overproduction of A2E, a condensation product of all-trans-retinal and phosphatidylethanolamine. We conclude that prRDH is an enzyme that catalyzes reduction of all-trans-retinal in the rod outer segment, most noticeably at higher light intensities and prolonged illumination, but is not an essential enzyme of the retinoid cycle.

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