Molecular Bases of Disease
- INPP5E, also known as pharbin, is a ubiquitously expressed phosphatidylinositol polyphosphate 5-phosphatase that is typically located in the primary cilia and modulates the phosphoinositide composition of membranes. Mutations to or loss of INPP5E is associated with ciliary dysfunction. INPP5E missense mutations of the phosphatase catalytic domain cause Joubert syndrome in humans—a syndromic ciliopathy affecting multiple tissues including the brain, liver, kidney, and retina. In contrast to other primary cilia, photoreceptor INPP5E is prominently expressed in the inner segment and connecting cilium and absent in the outer segment, which is a modified primary cilium dedicated to phototransduction.
- Centrins (CETN1–4) are ubiquitous and conserved EF-hand–family Ca2+-binding proteins associated with the centrosome, basal body, and transition zone. Deletion of CETN1 or CETN2 in mice causes male infertility or dysosmia, respectively, without affecting photoreceptor function. However, it remains unclear to what extent centrins are redundant with each other in photoreceptors. Here, to explore centrin redundancy, we generated Cetn3GT/GT single-knockout and Cetn2−/−;Cetn3GT/GT double-knockout mice.
- RAB28, a member of the RAS oncogene family, is a ubiquitous, farnesylated, small GTPase of unknown function present in photoreceptors and the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE). Nonsense mutations of the human RAB28 gene cause recessive cone-rod dystrophy 18 (CRD18), characterized by macular hyperpigmentation, progressive loss of visual acuity, RPE atrophy, and severely attenuated cone and rod electroretinography (ERG) responses. In an attempt to elucidate the disease-causing mechanism, we generated Rab28−/− mice by deleting exon 3 and truncating RAB28 after exon 2.
- Arf-like protein 13b (ARL13b) is a small GTPase that functions as a guanosine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) for ARL3-GDP. ARL13b is located exclusively in photoreceptor outer segments (OS) presumably anchored to discs by palmitoylation, whereas ARL3 is an inner segment cytoplasmic protein. Hypomorphic mutations affecting the ARL13b G-domain inactivate GEF activity and lead to Joubert syndrome (JS) in humans. However, the molecular mechanisms in ARL13b mutation–induced Joubert syndrome, particularly the function of primary cilia, are still incompletely understood.
- Arf-like protein 3 (ARL3) is a ubiquitous small GTPase expressed in ciliated cells of plants and animals. Germline deletion of Arl3 in mice causes multiorgan ciliopathy reminiscent of Bardet-Biedl or Joubert syndromes. As photoreceptors are elegantly compartmentalized and have cilia, we probed the function of ARL3 (ADP-ribosylation factor (Arf)-like 3 protein) by generating rod photoreceptor-specific (prefix rod) and retina-specific (prefix ret) Arl3 deletions. In predegenerate rodArl3−/− mice, lipidated phototransduction proteins showed trafficking deficiencies, consistent with the role of ARL3 as a cargo displacement factor for lipid-binding proteins.