Editors' ChoiceCell Biology

Sorting Light Receptors

Science Signaling  24 Mar 2009:
Vol. 2, Issue 63, pp. ec109
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.263ec109

In the retina, cyclic nucleotide–gated (CNG) channels initiate the electrical response to light in the sensory cilia of the rods. The channels are exclusively localized to outer segments of the cilia, but how they are positioned has been largely unknown. Working on Xenopus, Kizhatil et al. showed that the CNG-β subunit bound to ankyrin-G, a membrane scaffolding protein, is required not only for post-Golgi transport of CNG channels but also for rod outer segment development. A human mutation in the CNG-β subunit disrupts this targeting mechanism and is associated with retinitis pigmentosa. Similar ankyrin-G–based mechanisms may occur in olfactory cilia, in the sperm flagella, and at other sites.

K. Kizhatil, S. A. Baker, V. Y. Arshavsky, V. Bennett, Ankyrin-G promotes cyclic nucleotide–gated channel transport to rod photoreceptor sensory cilia. Science 323, 1614–1617 (2009). [Abstract] [Full Text]