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Mol Biol Cell. 2012 Sep;23(18):3522-31. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E12-02-0168. Epub 2012 Aug 1.

BiP prevents rod opsin aggregation.

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  • 1UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, London, United Kingdom.


Mutations in rod opsin-the light-sensitive protein of rod cells-cause retinitis pigmentosa. Many rod opsin mutations lead to protein misfolding, and therefore it is important to understand the role of molecular chaperones in rod opsin biogenesis. We show that BiP (HSPA5) prevents the aggregation of rod opsin. Cleavage of BiP with the subtilase cytotoxin SubAB results in endoplasmic reticulum (ER) retention and ubiquitylation of wild-type (WT) rod opsin (WT-green fluorescent protein [GFP]) at the ER. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching reveals that WT-GFP is usually mobile in the ER. By contrast, depletion of BiP activity by treatment with SubAB or coexpression of a BiP ATPase mutant, BiP(T37G), decreases WT-GFP mobility to below that of the misfolding P23H mutant of rod opsin (P23H-GFP), which is retained in the ER and can form cytoplasmic ubiquitylated inclusions. SubAB treatment of P23H-GFP-expressing cells decreases the mobility of the mutant protein further and leads to ubiquitylation throughout the ER. Of interest, BiP overexpression increases the mobility of P23H-GFP, suggesting that it can reduce mutant rod opsin aggregation. Therefore inhibition of BiP function results in aggregation of rod opsin in the ER, which suggests that BiP is important for maintaining the solubility of rod opsin in the ER.

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