Requirement for an Enzymatic Visual Cycle in Drosophila

Xiaoyue Wang, Tao Wang, Yuchen Jiao, Johannes von Lintig, Craig Montell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The visual cycle is an enzymatic pathway employed in the vertebrate retina to regenerate the chromophore after its release from light-activated rhodopsin. However, a visual cycle is thought to be absent in invertebrates such as the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Results: We demonstrate that an enzymatic visual cycle exists in flies for chromophore regeneration and requires a retinol dehydrogenase, PDH, in retinal pigment cells. Absence of PDH resulted in progressive light-dependent loss of rhodopsin and retinal degeneration. These defects are suppressed by introduction of a mammalian dehydrogenase, RDH12, which is required in humans to prevent retinal degeneration. We demonstrate that a visual cycle is required in flies to sustain a visual response under nutrient deprivation conditions that preclude de novo production of the chromophore. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that an enzymatic visual cycle exists and is required in flies for maintaining rhodopsin levels. These findings establish Drosophila as an animal model for studying the visual cycle and retinal diseases associated with chromophore regeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-102
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 26 2010



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Requirement for an Enzymatic Visual Cycle in Drosophila'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this