The retinal degeneration slow (rds) gene product is a photoreceptor disc membrane-associated glycoprotein

Neuron. 1991 Jan;6(1):61-70. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(91)90122-g.


Mice homozygous for the retinal degeneration slow (rds) mutation exhibit abnormal development of photoreceptor cells, followed by their slow degeneration. We have recently cloned the rds gene and determined the structure of the wild-type rds mRNA. Here we show that the gene is expressed exclusively in photoreceptor cells. We demonstrate that it encodes a 39 kd membrane-associated glycoprotein that is restricted to photoreceptor outer segments. By electron microscopy, we show that the rds protein is distributed uniformly within outer segment discs. The developmental appearance of the rds protein coincides with outer segment disc formation. We propose that the rds protein functions as an adhesion molecule for stabilization of the outer segment discs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / chemistry
  • DNA / genetics
  • Eye Proteins / analysis
  • Eye Proteins / genetics*
  • Gene Expression
  • Glycosylation
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • Peripherins
  • Photoreceptor Cells / chemistry
  • Photoreceptor Cells / metabolism*
  • Retina / chemistry
  • Retinal Degeneration / genetics*
  • Rod Cell Outer Segment / chemistry
  • Rod Cell Outer Segment / ultrastructure


  • Eye Proteins
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Peripherins
  • Prph2 protein, mouse
  • DNA