Rescue of Photoreceptor Degeneration in Rhodopsin-Null Drosophila Mutants by Activated Rac1

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Science  08 Dec 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5498, pp. 1978-1980
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5498.1978

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Rhodopsin is essential for photoreceptor morphogenesis; photoreceptors lacking rhodopsin degenerate in humans, mice, andDrosophila. Here we report that transgenic expression of a dominant-active Drosophila Rho guanosine triphosphatase, Drac1, rescued photoreceptor morphogenesis in rhodopsin-null mutants; expression of dominant-negative Drac1 resulted in a phenotype similar to that seen in rhodopsin-null mutants. Drac1 was localized in a specialization of the photoreceptor cortical actin cytoskeleton, which was lost in rhodopsin-null mutants. Thus, rhodopsin appears to organize the actin cytoskeleton through Drac1, contributing a structural support essential for photoreceptor morphogenesis.

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