West Virginia University, USA
Scientific Tracks Abstracts: Neurochem Neuropharm
Retinal photoreceptor neurons are polarized cells with specialized ciliary extensions called outer segments (OS) needed for vision. Modulation of cGMP in the OS by light is essential for our visual perception. Regulation of cyclic GMP (cGMP) in photoreceptors neurons (rod and cones) is controlled by retinal guanylate cyclase (GC), which produce cGMP. Phosphodiesterase 6 (PDE6) is responsible for hydrolyzing cGMP to GMP upon light activation. Previously, we showed that aryl hydrocarbon receptor interacting protein like-1 (AIPL1), a protein linked with childhood blindness is needed for rod vision. Our studies showed that the loss of AIPL1 in rod cells leads to reduced levels of PDE6 and consequent increase in cGMP that is thought to be the culprit behind rapid death of rod photoreceptor cells. The levels of GC, a cyclase needed for synthesis of cGMP in rods remains unaltered. Similar to rods, AIPL1 is needed for cone-mediated visual response. However, in contrast to rods, cones lacking AIPL1 display severe loss of cone PDE6 and GC. The reduction in enzymes mediating cGMP metabolisms accompanied by reduced levels of cGMP. The link between cGMP levels and rod/cone degeneration remains ambiguous and is currently under investigation.
Saravanan Kolandaivelu completed his graduate program at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, India. He then joined Dr. John Glomset’s group in Biochemistry at University of Washington as Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellow and then developed his interest in Vision Research during his tenure as a Senior Biochemist with Dr. Visvanathan Ramamurthy at West Virginia University. He was then promoted to the rank of Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at West Virginia University. He currently studies the importance of post-translational lipid modification of proteins and its role in retinal function. He was the Recipient of a Pediatric Ophthalmology Grant from Knights Templar Eye Foundation. He was also awarded with the prestigious Young Investigator Travel Awards from NIH and FASEB awards to attend national meetings. He published more than 20 papers in reputed journals. Currently, his laboratory is interested in understanding the Molecular Mechanism behind the role for Protein Palmitoylation in Photoreceptor Function.