Non-photopic and photopic visual cycles differentially regulate immediate, early and late-phases of cone photoreceptor-mediated vision

Rebecca Ward, Joanna Kaylor, Diego Cobice, Dionissia Pepe , Eoghan McGarrigle, Susan Brockerhoff, James Hurley, Gabriel Travis, Breandan Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
132 Downloads (Pure)


Cone photoreceptors in the retina enable vision over a wide range of light intensities. However, the processes enabling cone vision in bright light (i.e. photopic vision) are not adequately understood. Chromophore regeneration of cone photopigments may require the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and/or retinal Müller glia. In the RPE, isomerization of all-trans-retinyl esters to 11-cis-retinol is mediated by the retinoid isomerohydrolase Rpe65. A putative alternative retinoid isomerase, dihydroceramide desaturase-1 (DES1), is expressed in RPE and Müller cells. The retinol-isomerase activities of Rpe65 and Des1 are inhibited by emixustat and fenretinide, respectively. Here, we tested the effects of these visual cycle inhibitors on immediate, early, and late phases of cone photopic vision. In zebrafish larvae raised under cyclic light conditions, fenretinide impaired late cone photopic vision, while the emixustat-treated zebrafish unexpectedly had normal vision. In contrast, emixustat-treated larvae raised under extensive dark-adaptation displayed significantly attenuated immediate photopic vision concomitant with significantly reduced 11-cis-retinaldehyde (11cRAL). Following 30 min of light, early photopic vision was recovered, despite 11cRAL levels remaining significantly reduced. Defects in immediate cone photopic vision were rescued in emixustat- or fenretinide-treated larvae following exogenous 9-cis-retinalde-hyde supplementation. Genetic knockout of Des1 (degs1) or retinaldehyde-binding protein 1b (rlbp1b) did not eliminate photopic vision in zebrafish. Our findings define molecular and temporal requirements of the nonphotopic or photopic visual cycles for mediating vision in bright light.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6482-6497
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 8 May 2020


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