The localization and timing of post-translational modifications of rat rhodopsin

Robert S. St Jules, Sylvia B Smith, Paul J. O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Rat retinas were labeled by incubation with, or intravitreal injection of, [14C]leucine along with tritiated palmitic acid, glucosamine or galactose. At selected intervals, subcellular fractions were prepared on linear sucrose gradients and rhodopsin was extracted and purified by affinity chromatography and gel electrophoresis. Time courses revealed that leucine rapidly and transiently labeled the rhodopsin in the rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER), with a maximum at 1·5 hr post-injection. Subsequently, the rod outer segments (ROS) contained the labeled rhodopsin, with the ROS labeling maximally at 6-12 hr. Palmitate labeling followed the same pattern but was subject to a delay, presumably because of a large intracellular pool of the fatty acid. With palmitate the RER rhodopsin was not maximally labeled until 12 hr. The acylation of rhodopsin takes place in the RER sometime after the polypeptide has been translated but before transport to the Golgi. Glucosamine labeling was also delayed because of intracellular pools of the sugar or its metabolic derivatives. But because of secondary glycosylation in the Golgi, the rhodopsin in the ROS also labeled maximally with glucosamine at about 6 hr. Administration of [3H]galactose resulted in the labeling of rhodopsin both in vivo and in vitro, in part possibly because of its conversion to mannose and subsequent insertion into the core oligosaccharide on the RER. However, in the ROS the ratio of tritium, derived from [3H]galactose, to [14C]leucine decreased by a factor of 2 between 6 and 24 hr post-injection. Moreover, between 6 and 12 hr post-injection, labeled rhodopsin molecules in the ROS underwent a shift in mobility on gels indicative of trimming to a lower molecular weight. Thus some sugar residues may be added to the rhodopsin in the inner segment and removed in the ROS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-434
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Eye Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Golgi
  • incubation
  • intravitreal injection
  • retina
  • rhodopsin
  • rod outer segments
  • rough endoplasmic reticulum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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