- Metabolite transport is a major function of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) to support the neural retina. RPE dysfunction plays a significant role in retinal degenerative diseases. We have used mass spectrometry with 13C tracers to systematically study nutrient consumption and metabolite transport in cultured human fetal RPE. LC/MS-MS detected 120 metabolites in the medium from either the apical or basal side. Surprisingly, more proline is consumed than any other nutrient, including glucose, taurine, lipids, vitamins, or other amino acids.
- Production of energy in a cell must keep pace with demand. Photoreceptors use ATP to maintain ion gradients in darkness, whereas in light they use it to support phototransduction. Matching production with consumption can be accomplished by coupling production directly to consumption. Alternatively, production can be set by a signal that anticipates demand. In this report we investigate the hypothesis that signaling through phototransduction controls production of energy in mouse retinas. We found that respiration in mouse retinas is not coupled tightly to ATP consumption.