Retinitis pigmentosa is a retinal degeneration transmitted by varied modes of inheritance and affects approximately 1 in 4000 individuals. The photoreceptors of the outer retina, as well as the retinal pigmented epithelium which supports the outer retina metabolically and structurally, are the retinal regions most affected by the disorder. In several forms of retinitis pigmentosa, the mislocalization of the rod photoreceptor protein rhodopsin is thought to be a contributing factor underlying the pathophysiology seen in patients. The mutations causing this mislocalization often occur in genes coding proteins involved in ciliary formation, vesicular transport, rod outer segment disc formation, and stability, as well as the rhodopsin protein itself. Often, these mutations result in the most early-onset cases of both recessive and dominant retinitis pigmentosa, and the following presents a discussion of the proteins, their degenerative phenotypes, and possible treatments of the disease.
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