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Vision Res. 2008 Feb;48(3):400-12. Epub 2007 Oct 17.

SANS (USH1G) expression in developing and mature mammalian retina.

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Department of Cell and Matrix Biology, Institute of Zoology, Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz, Germany.


The human Usher syndrome (USH) is the most common form of combined deaf-blindness. Usher type I (USH1), the most severe form, is characterized by profound congenital deafness, constant vestibular dysfunction and prepubertal-onset of retinitis pigmentosa. Five corresponding genes of the six USH1 genes have been cloned so far. The USH1G gene encodes the SANS (scaffold protein containing ankyrin repeats and SAM domain) protein which consists of protein motifs known to mediate protein-protein interactions. Recent studies indicated SANS function as a scaffold protein in the protein interactome related to USH. Here, we generated specific antibodies for SANS protein expression analyses. Our study revealed SANS protein expression in NIH3T3 fibroblasts, murine tissues containing ciliated cells and in mature and developing mammalian retinas. In mature retinas, SANS was localized in inner and outer plexiform retinal layers, and in the photoreceptor cell layer. Subcellular fractionations, tangential cryosections and immunocytochemistry revealed SANS in synaptic terminals, cell-cell adhesions of the outer limiting membrane and ciliary apparati of photoreceptor cells. Analyses of postnatal developmental stages of murine retinas demonstrated SANS localization in differentiating ciliary apparati and in fully developed cilia, synapses, and cell-cell adhesions of photoreceptor cells. Present data provide evidence that SANS functions as a scaffold protein in USH protein networks during ciliogenesis, at the mature ciliary apparatus, the ribbon synapse and the cell-cell adhesion of mammalian photoreceptor cells. Defects of SANS may cause dysfunction of the entire network leading to retinal degeneration, the ocular symptom characteristic for USH patients.

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