Rpgrip1 is required for rod outer segment development and ciliary protein trafficking in zebrafish

Raghupathy, Rakesh K. and Zhang, Xun and Liu, Fei and Alhasani, Reem H. and Biswas, Lincoln and Akhtar, Saeed and Pan, Luyuan and Moens, Cecilia B. and Li, Wenchang and Liu, Mugen and Kennedy, Breandan N. and Shu, Xinhua (2017) Rpgrip1 is required for rod outer segment development and ciliary protein trafficking in zebrafish. Scientific Reports, 7. 16881. ISSN 2045-2322 (https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-12838-x)

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Mutations in the RPGR-interacting protein 1 (RPGRIP1) gene cause recessive Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), juvenile retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and cone-rod dystrophy. RPGRIP1 interacts with other retinal disease-causing proteins and has been proposed to have a role in ciliary protein transport; however, its function remains elusive. Here, we describe a new zebrafish model carrying a nonsense mutation in the rpgrip1 gene. Rpgrip1homozygous mutants do not form rod outer segments and display mislocalization of rhodopsin, suggesting a role for RPGRIP1 in rhodopsin-bearing vesicle trafficking. Furthermore, Rab8, the key regulator of rhodopsin ciliary trafficking, was mislocalized in photoreceptor cells of rpgrip1 mutants. The degeneration of rod cells is early onset, followed by the death of cone cells. These phenotypes are similar to that observed in LCA and juvenile RP patients. Our data indicate RPGRIP1 is necessary for rod outer segment development through regulating ciliary protein trafficking. The rpgrip1 mutant zebrafish may provide a platform for developing therapeutic treatments for RP patients.