Greasing the protein biosynthesis machinery of photoreceptor neurons: Role for postprenylation processing of proteins

Cell Logist. 2012 Jan 1;2(1):15-19. doi: 10.4161/cl.19804.


Daily phagocytosis of outer segments (OS) places extraordinary demands on protein biosynthesis and trafficking in photoreceptor neurons. While the members and roles of the phototransduction pathway in the OS are well characterized, details about protein trafficking are just beginning to emerge. Phosphodiesterase6 (PDE6), the effector enzyme in phototransduction cascade, serves as an example of the steps multimeric proteins must pass through to achieve their functional state in the OS. Genetic model systems have recently provided snapshots of various steps in the pathway, as experimental difficulties such as an inability to maintain ciliated photoreceptor outer segments or express functional PDE6 holoenzyme in vitro necessitate in vivo studies. We will highlight the significant findings, their implications to blinding diseases, as well as discuss the gaps requiring further investigation.