New mechanism can cause blindness

16 October 2014

A study at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM) has found a group of proteins in the retina that can trigger blindness. This finding could lead to better treatment and preventative measures in diseases affecting the eye.

Dr Michel Cayouette, director of the cellular neurobiology research unit at the IRCM, led the study that identified a protein, which is essential for the function and survival of light-sensing cells needed for sight.

Published in the Journal of Neuroscience, the study focused on a process called compartmentalisation, which establishes and maintains different compartments within a cell. Each of these has its own set of proteins and keeping them in compartments is crucial for neurons to function properly.

Photoreceptors of the retina are an example of compartmentalisation, with each being made of different parts containing specific proteins essential for vision.

The team aimed to better understand how compartmentalisation is achieved within photoreceptor cells. According to Dr Cayouette, their work identified a protein called Numb that explains this process, as it directs other proteins to the appropriate compartments.

“We demonstrated that in the absence of Numb, photoreceptors are unable to send a molecule essential for vision to the correct compartment, which causes the cells to progressively degenerate and ultimately die,” added Dr Vasanth Ramamurthy, first author of the research. 

Posted by Philip Briggs​

 

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:

or

Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.

or

Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...

Categories

Ophthalmology

© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)