Conditional deletion of Des1 in the mouse retina does not impair the visual cycle in cones

Philip D. Kiser, Alexander V. Kolesnikov, Jianying Z. Kiser, Zhiqian Dong, Bhagirath Chaurasia, Liping Wang, Scott A. Summers, Thanh Hoang, Seth Blackshaw, Neal S. Peachey, Vladimir J. Kefalov, Krzysztof Palczewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Cone photoreceptors are essential for vision under moderate to high illuminance and allow color discrimination. Their fast dark adaptation rate and resistance to saturation are believed to depend in part on an intraretinal visual cycle that supplies 11-cis-retinaldehyde to cone opsins. Candidate enzymes of this pathway have been reported, but their physiologic contribution to cone photoresponses remains unknown. Here, we evaluate the role of a candidate retinol isomerase of this pathway, sphingolipid d4 desaturase 1 (Des1). Single-cell RNA sequencing analysis revealed Des1 expression not only in Müller glia but also throughout the retina and in the retinal pigment epithelium. We assessed cone functional dependence on Müller cell–expressed Des1 through a conditional knockout approach. Floxed Des1 mice, on a guanine nucleotide-binding protein subunit a transducin 1 knockout (Gnat12/2) background to allow isolated recording of cone-driven photoresponses, were bred with platelet-derived growth factor receptor a (Pdgfra)-Cre mice to delete Des1 in Müller cells. Conditional knockout of Des1 expression, as shown by tissue-selective Des1 gene recombination and reduced Des1 catalytic activity, caused no gross changes in the retinal structure and had no effect on cone sensitivity or dark adaptation but did slightly accelerate the rate of cone phototransduction termination. These results indicate that Des1 expression in Müller cells is not required for cone visual pigment regeneration in the mouse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5782-5792
Number of pages11
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019


  • Degs1
  • Müller glia
  • Photoreceptor
  • Retinoid cycle
  • Sphingolipidd(4) desaturase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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