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J Biol Chem. 2008 Sep 5;283(36):25091-102. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M802981200. Epub 2008 Jul 7.

Retinyl ester homeostasis in the adipose differentiation-related protein-deficient retina.

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Department of Pharmacology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.


The retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) plays an essential role in vision, including storing and converting retinyl esters of the visual chromophore, 11-cis-retinal. Retinyl ester storage structures (RESTs), specialized lipid droplets within the RPE, take up retinyl esters synthesized in the endoplasmic reticulum. Here we report studies of mice lacking exons 2 and 3 of the gene encoding adipose differentiation-related protein (Adfp), a structural component of RESTs. We found that dark adaptation was slower in Adfp(Delta2-3/Delta2-3) than in Adfp+/+ mice and that Adfp(Delta2-3/Delta2-3) mice had consistently delayed clearances of all-trans-retinal and all-trans-retinol from rod photoreceptor cells. Two-photon microscopy revealed aberrant trafficking of all-trans-retinyl esters in the RPE of Adfp(Delta2-3/Delta2-3) mice, a problem caused by abnormal maintenance of RESTs in the dark-adapted state. Retinyl ester accumulation was also reduced in Adfp(Delta2-3/Delta2-3) as compared with Adfp+/+ mice. These observations suggest that Adfp plays a unique role in vision by maintaining proper storage and trafficking of retinoids within the eye.

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