Examining the Role of Cone-expressed RPE65 in Mouse Cone Function

Alexander V. Kolesnikov, Peter H. Tang, Vladimir J. Kefalov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Efficient chromophore supply is paramount for the continuous function of vertebrate cone photoreceptors. It is well established that isomerization of all-trans- to 11-cis- retinoid in the retinal pigmented epithelium by RPE65 is a key reaction in this process. Mutations in RPE65 result in a disrupted chromophore supply, retinal degeneration, and blindness. Interestingly, RPE65 has recently been found to also be expressed in cone photoreceptors in several species, including mouse and human. However, the functional role of cone-expressed RPE65 has remained unknown. Here, we used loss and gain of function approaches to investigate this issue. First, we compared the function of cones from control and RPE65-deficient mice. Although we found that deletion of RPE65 partially suppressed cone dark adaptation, the interpretation of this result was complicated by the abnormal cone structure and function caused by the chromophore deficiency in the absence of RPE65 in the pigmented epithelium. As an alternative approach, we generated transgenic mice to express human RPE65 in the cones of mice where RPE65 expression is normally restricted to the pigmented epithelium. Comparison of control (RPE65-deficient) and transgenic (RPE65-expressing) cones revealed no morphological or functional changes, with only a slight delay in dark adaptation, possibly caused by the buffering of retinoids by RPE65. Together, our results do not provide any evidence for a functional role of RPE65 in mouse cones. Future studies will have to determine whether cone-expressed RPE65 plays a role in maintaining the long-term homeostasis of retinoids in cones and their function and survival, particularly in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14201
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


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