Author(s): Rem CE, Wolfrum U, Imsand C, Hafezi F, Williams TP
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Abstract PURPOSE: To investigate whether regulation of rhodopsin levels as a response to changed lighting environment is performed by autophagic degradation of opsin in rod inner segments (RISs). METHODS: Groups of albino rats were kept in 3 lux or 200 lux. At 10 weeks of age, one group was transferred from 3 lux to 200 lux, another group was switched from 200 lux to 3 lux, and two groups remained in their native lighting (baselines). Rats were killed at days 1, 2, and 3 after switching. Another group was switched from 3 lux to 200 lux, and rats were killed at short intervals after the switch. Numbers of autophagic vacuoles (AVs) in RISs were counted, and immunogold labeling was performed for opsin and ubiquitin in electron microscopic sections. RESULTS: The number of AVs increased significantly after switching from 3 lux to 200 lux at days 1 and 2 and declined at day 3, whereas the reverse intensity change did not cause any increase. Early time points after change from 3 lux to 200 lux showed a significant increase of AVs 2 and 3 hours after switching. Distinct opsin label was observed in AVs of rats switched to 200 lux. Ubiquitin label was present in all investigated specimens and was also seen in AVs especially in 200-lux immigrants. CONCLUSIONS: Earlier studies had shown that an adjustment to new lighting environment is performed by changes in rhodopsin levels in ROSs. Autophagic degradation of opsin or rhodopsin may subserve, at least in part, the adaptation to abruptly increased habitat illuminance by removing surplus visual pigment.
This article was published in Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci
and referenced in Dermatology and Dermatologic Diseases