Cone Cell Correctors

In mice, adult cone cell outer segments and their visual functions deteriorate if two microRNAs are not present.

Jyoti Madhusoodanan
Oct 1, 2014

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

EDITOR'S CHOICE IN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY

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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