December 1, 2020
Images of retina with single photoreceptor versus retina with many photoreceptors

Removal of FATP4 saves cone photoreceptors in mouse retina. Image credit: LSU Health

A team of LSU Health New Orleans researchers reports for the first time that deleting one of the inhibitors of the RPE65 gene in a mouse model that carries a human disease mutation prevents degeneration of cone photoreceptors that are used for daytime high-resolution color vision. Their findings are published in PNAS.

Previously, the researchers identified three inhibitors of RPE65. The one involved in the current study is called fatty acid transport protein 4 (FATP4). They found that the survival of cone photoreceptors is increased nearly 10-fold in the mouse model of LCA lacking FATP4 in the retina. They also discovered that partial reduction of FATP4 in the retina can improve the survival and visual function of cone photoreceptors. These findings establish FATP4 as a promising therapeutic target to preserve daytime color vision in patients.