March 31, 2021

New Publication by the Pearring Lab!


Vision begins when light is captured by the outer segment organelle of photoreceptor cells in the retina. Outer segments are modified cilia filled with hundreds of flattened disc-shaped membranes. Disc membranes are separated from the surrounding plasma membrane and each membrane type has unique protein components. The mechanisms underlying this protein sorting remain entirely unknown. In this study, we investigated the outer segment delivery of the rod cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) channel, which is located in the outer segment plasma membrane where it mediates the electrical response to light. Using Xenopus and mouse models of both sexes, we now show that the targeted delivery of the CNG channel to the outer segment utilizes the conventional secretory pathway, including protein processing in both ER and Golgi, and requires pre-assembly of its constituent α1 and β1 subunits. We further demonstrate that the N-terminal GARP domain of CNGβ1 contains two distinct functional regions. The glutamic acid-rich region encodes specific information targeting the channel to rod outer segments. The adjacent proline-enriched region connects the CNG channel to photoreceptor disc rims, likely through an interaction with peripherin-2. These data reveal fine functional specializations within the structural domains of the CNG channel and suggest that its sequestration to the outer segment plasma membrane requires an interaction with peripherin-2.