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RAB28, a member of the RAS oncogene family, is a ubiquitous, farnesylated, small GTPase of unknown function present in photoreceptors and the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE). Nonsense mutations of the human RAB28 gene cause recessive cone-rod dystrophy 18 (CRD18), characterized by macular hyperpigmentation, progressive loss of visual acuity, RPE atrophy, and severely attenuated cone and rod electroretinography (ERG) responses. In an attempt to elucidate the disease-causing mechanism, we generated Rab28 -/- mice by deleting exon 3 and truncating RAB28 after exon 2. We found that Rab28 -/- mice recapitulate features of the human dystrophy (i.e. they exhibited reduced cone and rod ERG responses and progressive retina degeneration). Cones of Rab28 -/- mice extended their outer segments (OSs) to the RPE apical processes and formed enlarged, balloon-like distal tips before undergoing degeneration. The visual pigment content of WT and Rab28 -/- cones was comparable before the onset of degeneration. Cone phagosomes were almost absent in Rab28 -/- mice, whereas rod phagosomes displayed normal levels. A protein-protein interaction screen identified several RAB28-interacting proteins, including the prenyl-binding protein phosphodiesterase 6 δ-subunit (PDE6D) and voltage-gated potassium channel subfamily J member 13 (KCNJ13) present in the RPE apical processes. Of note, the loss of PDE6D prevented delivery of RAB28 to OSs. Taken together, these findings reveal that RAB28 is required for shedding and phagocytosis of cone OS discs. © 2018 Ying et al.


Guoxin Ying, Karsten Boldt, Marius Ueffing, Cecilia D Gerstner, Jeanne M Frederick, Wolfgang Baehr. The small GTPase RAB28 is required for phagocytosis of cone outer segments by the murine retinal pigmented epithelium. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2018 Nov 09;293(45):17546-17558

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PMID: 30228185

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