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Vision Res. 2012 Dec 15;75:37-43. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2012.10.009. Epub 2012 Oct 23.

Analysis of KIF17 distal tip trafficking in zebrafish cone photoreceptors.

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Department of Cell Biology, Medical College of Wisconsin, 8701 Watertown Plank Road, Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509, USA.


Multiple proteins are targeted to photoreceptor outer segments (OSs) where they function in phototransduction. Intraflagellar transport (IFT), a highly conserved bidirectional transport pathway occurring along the microtubules of the ciliary axoneme has been implicated in OS trafficking. The canonical anterograde motor for IFT is the heterotrimeric kinesin II or KIF3 complex. Previous work from our laboratory has demonstrated a role for an additional kinesin 2 family motor, the homodimeric KIF17. To gain a better understanding of KIF17 function in photoreceptor OS we utilized transgenic zebrafish expressing zfKIF17-GFP to assess the localization and dynamics of zfKIF17. Our data indicate that both endogenous KIF17 and KIF17-GFP are associated with the axoneme of zebrafish cones at both early (5dpf) and late (21 dfp) stages of development. Strikingly, KIF17-GFP accumulates at the OS distal tip in a phenomenon referred to as "tipping". Tipping occurs in the large majority of photoreceptors and also occurs when mammalian KIF17-mCherry is expressed in ciliated epithelial cells in culture. In some cases KIF17-GFP is shed with the OS tip as part of the disc shedding process. We have also found that KIF17-GFP moves within the OS at rates consistent with those observed for IFT and other kinesins.

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