The long-term goal of the proposed research is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which mutations in genes that regulate rhodopsin trafficking and photoreceptor membrane renewal lead to retinal diseases. Mutations in rhodopsin that affect the C- terminal VxPx motif cause severe forms of autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa (ADRP). We identified and defined rhodopsin C-terminal VxPx motif as the conserved ciliary targeting signal. Furthermore, we identified a targeting complex that recognizes this signal and regulates rhodopsin sorting into post-Golgi transport carriers (RTCs). The targeting complex is assembled upon direct binding of the small GTPase Arf4 to the VxPx motif. As the VxPx motif is present in other ciliary membrane proteins, some of which bind Arf4, this leads us to propose that membrane targeting to the rod outer segments (ROS) is equivalent to ciliary targeting, and that the complex we identified is a ciliary targeting complex. We plan to study the role of this complex in rhodopsin trafficking and photoreceptor polarity. We propose: 1. To elucidate the architecture of the targeting complex, which is comprised of the small GTPases Arf4 and Rab11, the Arf GAP ASAP1, and the Arf/Rab11 effector FIP3, and determine its mode of interaction with rhodopsin at the trans-Golgi network (TGN), which is essential for ciliary targeting; 2. To determine whether the ASAP1/Rab11/FIP3 complex that remains associated with RTCs serves to recruit regulators of RTC fusion;and 3. To delineate the individual roles of the components of the complex in ciliary targeting of rhodopsin. To accomplish this, we will use our established cell-free system that reconstitutes rhodopsin trafficking in vitro and probe molecular interactions by biochemical assays, co-immunoprecipitation and pull-down experiments with recombinant and purified components of the complex, as well as by transgenic expression of inhibitory and dominant-negative mutant proteins, and by specific protein knockdowns and expression of mutant proteins in ciliated epithelial cells transfected with rhodopsin-eGFP-VxPx fusion protein. The product of our program will be the basic understanding of the molecular linkage between the regulatory machinery involved in the renewal of light-sensitive membranes through ciliary targeting and a wide range of systemic cilia disorders. This is expected to provide the foundation for improved therapeutic strategies for treatment of retina-specific and syndromic forms of photoreceptor loss.

Public Health Relevance

Blinding eye diseases afflicting human populations worldwide are often caused by mutations that inactivate the light receptor rhodopsin and associated proteins that are involved in the maintenance of healthy retinal rods. In some cases these proteins are also functional in other tissues and their failure results in syndromic diseases that affect eyes, kidneys and other organs. We propose to elucidate the role of such a group of proteins that are associated with rhodopsin. These studies will increase our understanding of the molecular underpinnings of inherited retinal diseases and provide therapeutic possibilities for future treatments.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-CB-G (90))
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Neuhold, Lisa
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University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center
Schools of Medicine
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Wang, Jing; Fresquez, Theresa; Kandachar, Vasundhara et al. (2017) The Arf GEF GBF1 and Arf4 synergize with the sensory receptor cargo, rhodopsin, to regulate ciliary membrane trafficking. J Cell Sci 130:3975-3987
Vetter, Melanie; Wang, Jing; Lorentzen, Esben et al. (2015) Novel topography of the Rab11-effector interaction network within a ciliary membrane targeting complex. Small GTPases 6:165-73
Wang, Jing; Deretic, Dusanka (2015) The Arf and Rab11 effector FIP3 acts synergistically with ASAP1 to direct Rabin8 in ciliary receptor targeting. J Cell Sci 128:1375-85
Wang, Jing; Deretic, Dusanka (2014) Molecular complexes that direct rhodopsin transport to primary cilia. Prog Retin Eye Res 38:1-19
Deretic, Dusanka (2013) Crosstalk of Arf and Rab GTPases en route to cilia. Small GTPases 4:70-7
Wang, Jing; Morita, Yoshiko; Mazelova, Jana et al. (2012) The Arf GAP ASAP1 provides a platform to regulate Arf4- and Rab11-Rab8-mediated ciliary receptor targeting. EMBO J 31:4057-71
Lu, Rong-Wen; Curcio, Christine A; Zhang, Youwen et al. (2012) Investigation of the hyper-reflective inner/outer segment band in optical coherence tomography of living frog retina. J Biomed Opt 17:060504
Deretic, Dusanka; Wang, Jing (2012) Molecular assemblies that control rhodopsin transport to the cilia. Vision Res 75:5-10
Ward, Heather H; Brown-Glaberman, Ursa; Wang, Jing et al. (2011) A conserved signal and GTPase complex are required for the ciliary transport of polycystin-1. Mol Biol Cell 22:3289-305
Mazelova, Jana; Astuto-Gribble, Lisa; Inoue, Hiroki et al. (2009) Ciliary targeting motif VxPx directs assembly of a trafficking module through Arf4. EMBO J 28:183-92

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