EDGE OF SIGHT: The outer segments (green) of photoreceptors in the mouse retina rely upon a pair of microRNAs for proper structure and function. NEURON, BUSSKAMP ET AL., 2014


The paper
V. Busskamp et al., “miRNAs 182 and 183 are necessary to maintain adult cone photoreceptor outer segments and visual function,” Neuron, 83:586-600, 2014.

The background
In retinal photoreceptors, the conversion of light to an electrical signal occurs in an organelle known as the outer segment. Malfunctioning outer segments are linked to cone cell diseases and blindness. Previous studies have shown microRNAs (miRNAs)—noncoding RNAs that repress gene expression—are essential to normal cone cell development, but how they operate in adult retinas was unclear.

The experiment
Botond Roska of the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research in Switzerland and his colleagues developed knockout mice and in vitro models in which all miRNAs were depleted in...

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