Protein synthesis and axonal transport in retinal ganglion cells of mice lacking visual receptors
The retinas of mice with hereditary degeneration of visual receptor cells were compared with those of a closely related strain of mice with normal retinas. 1. (1) The mutants had 20% fewer retinal ganglion cells and the remaining ganglion cells were reduced in size by 10-20%. (2) Tritiated amino acid incorporation into ganglion cell protein was about 35% less in the mutants than in the normals, but the labeled protein disappeared from the cells at the same rate as in the normals. (3) The rate of the fast component of axonal protein transport in the optic nerve was the same in both groups of animals, with a maximum of 190 mm/day. (4) The rate of slow transport, which was between about 1.5 and 3 mm/day in the normals, was reduced by one-third in the mutants. (5) Results obtained with proline and leucine were essentially the same, but indicated a longer lifetime for the proline-containing proteins in both the fast and slow components. The absence of visual receptors in the mutants is likely to result in a greatly reduced level of electrical activity in the ganglion cells, which is probably the basis for the observed changes. On the other hand, the unchanged rate of fast transport in the mutants indicates that this rate is independent of alterations in electrical activity, cell size or protein synthesis. © 1972.
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