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Ceramidase Expression Facilitates Membrane Turnover and Endocytosis of Rhodopsin in Photoreceptors

Usha Acharya, Michael Beth Mowen, Kunio Nagashima, Jairaj K. Acharya and Dan L. Lindsley
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 101, No. 7 (Feb. 17, 2004), pp. 1922-1926
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3371371
Page Count: 5
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Ceramidase Expression Facilitates Membrane Turnover and Endocytosis of Rhodopsin in Photoreceptors
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Abstract

Transgenic expression of ceramidase suppresses retinal degeneration in Drosophila arrestin and phospholipase C mutants. Here, we show that expression of ceramidase facilitates the dissolution of incompletely formed and inappropriately located elements of rhabdomeric membranes in ninaEI17 mutants lacking the G protein receptor Rh1 in R1-R6 photoreceptor cells. Ceramidase expression facilitates the endocytic turnover of Rh1. Although ceramidase expression aids the removal of internalized rhodopsin, it does not affect the turnover of Rh1 in photoreceptors maintained in dark, where Rh1 is not activated and thus has a slower turnover and a long half-life. Therefore, the phenotypic consequence of ceramidase expression in photoreceptors is caused by facilitation of endocytosis. This study provides mechanistic insight into the sphingolipid biosynthetic pathway-mediated modulation of endocytosis and suppression of retinal degeneration.

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