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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

RS1, a discoidin domain-containing retinal cell adhesion protein associated with X-linked retinoschisis, exists as a novel disulfide-linked octamer.

RS1, also known as retinoschisin, is an extracellular protein that plays a crucial role in the cellular organization of the retina. Mutations in RS1 are responsible for X-linked retinoschisis, a common, early-onset macular degeneration in males that results in a splitting of the inner layers of the retina and severe loss in vision. RS1 is assembled and secreted from photoreceptors and bipolar cells as a homo-oligomeric protein complex. Each subunit consists of a 157-amino acid discoidin domain flanked by two small segments of 39 and 5 amino acids. To begin to understand how the structure of RS1 relates to its role in retinal cell adhesion and X-linked retinoschisis, we have determined the subunit organization and disulfide bonding pattern of RS1 by SDS gel electrophoresis, velocity sedimentation, and mass spectrometry. Our results indicate that RS1 exists as a novel octamer in which the eight subunits are joined together by Cys(59)-Cys(223) intermolecular disulfide bonds. Subunits within the octamer are further organized into dimers mediated by Cys(40)-Cys(40) bonds. These cysteines lie just outside the discoidin domain indicating that these flanking segments primarily function in the octamerization of RS1. Within the discoidin domain, two cysteine pairs (Cys(63)-Cys(219) and Cys(110)-Cys(142)) form intramolecular disulfide bonds that are important in protein folding, and one cysteine (Cys(83)) exists in its reduced state. Because mutations that disrupt subunit assembly cause X-linked retinoschisis, the assembly of RS1 into a disulfide-linked homo-octamer appears to be critical for its function as a retinal cell adhesion protein.[1]


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