The GARP Domain of the Rod CNG Channel's β1-Subunit Contains Distinct Sites for Outer Segment Targeting and Connecting to the Photoreceptor Disk Rim.
Vision begins when light is captured by the outer segment organelle of photoreceptor cells in the retina. Outer segments are modified cilia filled with hundreds of flattened disk-shaped membranes. Disk membranes are separated from the surrounding plasma membrane, and each membrane type has unique protein components. The mechanisms underlying this protein sorting remain entirely unknown. In this study, we investigated the outer segment delivery of the rod cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) channel, which is located in the outer segment plasma membrane, where it mediates the electrical response to light. Using Xenopus and mouse models of both sexes, we now show that the targeted delivery of the CNG channel to the outer segment uses the conventional secretory pathway, including protein processing in both ER and Golgi, and requires preassembly of its constituent α1 and β1 subunits. We further demonstrate that the N-terminal glutamic acid-rich protein (GARP) domain of CNGβ1 contains two distinct functional regions. The glutamic acid-rich region encodes specific information targeting the channel to rod outer segments. The adjacent proline-enriched region connects the CNG channel to photoreceptor disk rims, likely through an interaction with peripherin-2. These data reveal fine functional specializations within the structural domains of the CNG channel and suggest that its sequestration to the outer segment plasma membrane requires an interaction with peripherin-2.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Neurons and other differentiated cells have a remarkable ability to deliver and organize signaling proteins at precise subcellular locations. We now report that the CNG channel, mediating the electrical response to light in rod photoreceptors, contains two specialized regions within the N terminus of its β-subunit: one responsible for delivery of this channel to the ciliary outer segment organelle and another for subsequent channel sequestration into the outer segment plasma membrane. These findings expand our understanding of the molecular specializations used by neurons to populate their critical functional compartments.
Pearring, JN; Martínez-Márquez, J; Willer, JR; Lieu, EC; Salinas, RY; Arshavsky, VY
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