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J Biol Chem. 2009 Aug 7;284(32):21468-77. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.020966. Epub 2009 Jun 8.

Rdh12 activity and effects on retinoid processing in the murine retina.

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Departments of Biological Chemistry, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105, USA.


RDH12 mutations are responsible for early-onset autosomal recessive retinal dystrophy, which results in profound retinal pathology and severe visual handicap in patients. To investigate the function of RDH12 within the network of retinoid dehydrogenases/reductases (RDHs) present in retina, we studied the retinal phenotype of Rdh12-deficient mice. In vivo rates of all-trans-retinal reduction and 11-cis-retinal formation during recovery from bleaching were similar in Rdh12-deficient and wild-type mice matched for an Rpe65 polymorphism that impacts visual cycle efficiency. However, retinal homogenates from Rdh12-deficient mice exhibited markedly decreased capacity to reduce exogenous retinaldehydes in vitro. Furthermore, in vivo levels of the bisretinoid compound diretinoid-pyridinium-ethanolamine (A2E) were increased in Rdh12-deficient mice of various genetic backgrounds. Conversely, in vivo levels of retinoic acid and total retinol were significantly decreased. Rdh12 transcript levels in wild-type mice homozygous for the Rpe65-Leu(450) polymorphism were greater than in Rpe65-Met(450) mice and increased during postnatal development in wild-type mice and Nrl-deficient mice having an all-cone retina. Rdh12-deficient mice did not exhibit increased retinal degeneration relative to wild-type mice at advanced ages, when bred on the light-sensitive BALB/c background, or when heterozygous for a null allele of superoxide dismutase 2 (Sod2(+/-)). Our findings suggest that a critical function of RDH12 is the reduction of all-trans-retinal that exceeds the reductive capacity of the photoreceptor outer segments.

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