RPB Career Award

The Pearring lab has been granted a four year Career Development Award by Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) to support a project titled “Crossing the Barrier: how membrane proteins are deposited into the light-sensing outer segment compartment of photoreceptors cells”. Retinal inherited diseases are a leading cause of blindness worldwide. Retinitis pigmentaosa is caused by diverse mutations in more than 44 genes that are expressed in rod photoreceptors, which are the first cells to degenerate, leading to night blindness. Cone photoreceptors, that do not necessarily express the causative gene, then progressively lose their outer segments, leading to overall blindness. Some of the most severe cases of retinitis pigmentosa are caused by mislocalization of proteins from the outer segment to the rest of the photoreceptor cell. This project is to investigate the molecular mechanisms responsible for docking and fusing vesicles at the base of the outer segment. Understanding the underlying mechanisms that establish and maintain polarized localization of proteins in the outer segment compartment will provide insight into how to prevent photoreceptor degeneration.

For more information about RPB’s grants program and findings generated by these awards, go to www.rpbusa.org.

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