Retinol dehydrogenase 8 and ATP-binding cassette transporter 4 modulate dark adaptation of M-cones in mammalian retina

Alexander V. Kolesnikov, Akiko Maeda, Peter H. Tang, Yoshikazu Imanishi, Krzysztof Palczewski, Vladimir J. Kefalov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Rapid recycling of visual chromophore and regeneration of the visual pigment are critical for the continuous function of mammalian cone photoreceptors in daylight vision. However, the molecular mechanisms modulating the supply of visual chromophore to cones have remained unclear. Here we explored the roles of two chromophore-binding proteins, retinol dehydrogenase 8 (RDH8) and photoreceptor-specific ATP-binding cassette transporter 4 (ABCA4), in dark adaptation of mammalian cones. We report that young adult RDH8/ABCA4-deficient mice have normal M-cone morphology but reduced visual acuity and photoresponse amplitudes. Notably, the deletion of RDH8 and ABCA4 suppressed the dark adaptation of M-cones driven by both the intraretinal visual cycle and the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) visual cycle. This delay can be caused by two separate mechanisms: direct involvement of RDH8 and ABCA4 in cone chromophore processing, and an indirect effect from the delayed recycling of chromophore by the RPE due to its slow release from RDH8/ABCA4-deficient rods. Intriguingly, our data suggest that RDH8 could also contribute to the oxidation of cis-retinoids in cones, a key reaction of the retina visual cycle. Finally, we dissected the roles of rod photoreceptors and RPE for dark adaptation of M-cones. We found that rods suppress, whereas RPE promotes, cone dark adaptation. Thus, therapeutic approaches targeting the RPE visual cycle could have adverse effects on the function of cones, making the evaluation of residual cone function a critical test for regimens targeting the RPE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4923-4941
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Physiology
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 15 2015


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