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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2012 Apr;69(7):1035-47. doi: 10.1007/s00018-011-0736-0. Epub 2011 Jun 8.

Structural and functional relationships between photoreceptor tetraspanins and other superfamily members.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, 73104, USA.


The two primary photoreceptor-specific tetraspanins are retinal degeneration slow (RDS) and rod outer segment membrane protein-1 (ROM-1). These proteins associate together to form different complexes necessary for the proper structure of the photoreceptor outer segment rim region. Mutations in RDS cause blinding retinal degenerative disease in both rods and cones by mechanisms that remain unknown. Tetraspanins are implicated in a variety of cellular processes and exert their function via the formation of tetraspanin-enriched microdomains. This review focuses on correlations between RDS and other members of the tetraspanin superfamily, particularly emphasizing protein structure, complex assembly, and post-translational modifications, with the goal of furthering our understanding of the structural and functional role of RDS and ROM-1 in outer segment morphogenesis and maintenance, and our understanding of the pathogenesis associated with RDS and ROM-1 mutations.

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