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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 Feb 1;88(3):723-6.

Photoreceptor peripherin is the normal product of the gene responsible for retinal degeneration in the rds mouse.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Retinal degeneration slow (rds) is a retinal disorder of an inbred strain of mice in which the outer segment of the photoreceptor cell fails to develop. A candidate gene has recently been described for the rds defect [Travis, G. H., Brennan, M. B., Danielson, P. E., Kozak, C. & Sutcliffe, J. G. (1989) Nature (London) 338, 70-73]. Neither the identity of the normal gene product nor its intracellular localization had been determined. We report here that the amino acid sequence of the bovine photoreceptor-cell protein peripherin, which was previously localized to the rim region of the photoreceptor disk membrane, is 92.5% identical to the sequence of the mouse protein encoded by the normal rds gene. The differences between the two sequences can be attributed to species variation. Monoclonal antibodies were used with Western blot analysis to localize the wild-type mouse peripherin/rds protein to isolated mouse rod outer segments and to show that it, like bovine peripherin, exists as two subunits linked by one or more disulfide bonds. The relative amounts of peripherin/rds protein and rhodopsin in retinal extracts of normal and rds mutant mice were also compared. Identification of peripherin as the protein encoded by the normal rds gene and its localization to membranes of rod outer segments will serve as a basis for studies directed toward defining the role of this protein in the morphogenesis and maintenance of the outer segment and toward understanding the mechanism by which the rds mutation causes retinal degeneration.

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