The overall goal of this proposal is to elucidate the scope of intracellular trafficking pathways responsible for the delivery of signaling and structura proteins into the light-sensitive organelle of photoreceptor cells, the outer segment. Almost everything we know about outer segment protein delivery relates to the visual pigment, rhodopsin, whereas the mechanisms responsible for the outer segment trafficking of other resident proteins remain largely unknown. During the next grant cycle, we propose to conduct detailed studies of two outer segment-resident proteins, peripherin and PRCD.
Aim 1 will focus on the trafficking mechanism for the photoreceptor disc rim protein peripherin-2/RDS. We will employ live imaging, biochemical fractionation and quantitative mass spectrometry to elucidate whether peripherin and rhodopsin are packaged into the same or different transport vesicles and whether this packaging is performed by the same or different accessory proteins.
Aim 2 will focus on PRCD, a novel constitutive component of photoreceptor discs whose mutations are associated with retinal degeneration in human patients and multiple breeds of dogs. Our proposed experiments will combine basic functional characterization of PRCD with investigation of its prevalent C2Y mutation that leads to PRCD mislocalization from the discs to other photoreceptor compartments. A particular emphasis will be placed on identifying PRCD interacting partners, which will benefit both of these directions. The proposed Aims are relevant to understanding the most basic issues in photoreceptor cell biology and are key for understanding the causes of many types of photoreceptor degeneration associated with defects in protein sorting, targeting and trafficking.

Public Health Relevance

The studies proposed in this application address the molecular and cellular mechanisms responsible for the maintaining the light-sensitive compartment of photoreceptor cells, the outer segment. Because of adverse effects of daily light exposure, the building materials of the outer segment have to be replaced approximately every ten days. This requires an enormous flow of highly organized protein trafficking from the intracellular biosynthetic machinery to this compartment. Dysfunction of outer segment trafficking causes some of the most prevalent and severe types of inherited degenerative diseases of the retina, highlighting the importance of understanding how protein sorting and trafficking are performed in these cells. Elucidating these mechanisms is essential for developing strategies for disease prevention and future therapeutic interventions.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Program Officer
Neuhold, Lisa
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Duke University
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Sharif, Ali S; Yu, Dongmei; Loertscher, Stuart et al. (2018) C8ORF37 Is Required for Photoreceptor Outer Segment Disc Morphogenesis by Maintaining Outer Segment Membrane Protein Homeostasis. J Neurosci 38:3160-3176
Salinas, Raquel Y; Pearring, Jillian N; Ding, Jin-Dong et al. (2017) Photoreceptor discs form through peripherin-dependent suppression of ciliary ectosome release. J Cell Biol 216:1489-1499
Pearring, Jillian N; San Agustin, Jovenal T; Lobanova, Ekaterina S et al. (2017) Loss of Arf4 causes severe degeneration of the exocrine pancreas but not cystic kidney disease or retinal degeneration. PLoS Genet 13:e1006740
Spencer, William J; Pearring, Jillian N; Salinas, Raquel Y et al. (2016) Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration (PRCD) Protein Requires N-Terminal S-Acylation and Rhodopsin Binding for Photoreceptor Outer Segment Localization and Maintaining Intracellular Stability. Biochemistry 55:5028-37
Ploier, Birgit; Caro, Lydia N; Morizumi, Takefumi et al. (2016) Dimerization deficiency of enigmatic retinitis pigmentosa-linked rhodopsin mutants. Nat Commun 7:12832
Ding, Jin-Dong; Salinas, Raquel Y; Arshavsky, Vadim Y (2015) Discs of mammalian rod photoreceptors form through the membrane evagination mechanism. J Cell Biol 211:495-502
Pearring, Jillian N; Spencer, William J; Lieu, Eric C et al. (2015) Guanylate cyclase 1 relies on rhodopsin for intracellular stability and ciliary trafficking. Elife 4:
Pearring, Jillian N; Lieu, Eric C; Winter, Joan R et al. (2014) R9AP targeting to rod outer segments is independent of rhodopsin and is guided by the SNARE homology domain. Mol Biol Cell 25:2644-9
Srinivasan, Pratul P; Heflin, Stephanie J; Izatt, Joseph A et al. (2014) Automatic segmentation of up to ten layer boundaries in SD-OCT images of the mouse retina with and without missing layers due to pathology. Biomed Opt Express 5:348-65
Arshavsky, Vadim Y; Burns, Marie E (2014) Current understanding of signal amplification in phototransduction. Cell Logist 4:e29390

Showing the most recent 10 out of 41 publications