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Well-pruned photoreceptors!

 

Researchers from Israel and California have demonstrated the importance of two proteins in maintaining a healthy retina. Their discovery could have implications for treating conditions of the immune, reproductive, vascular and nervous systems.

 

Retinal photoreceptors continually grow and elongate. If this process is left unchecked, they end up succumbing to toxicity and degenerate, leading to blindness. Fortunately, pigment epithelial cells “prune” the photoreceptors, at the same time clearing away many free radicals and toxic by-products generated during visual biochemical reactions.

 

In order to initiate the process of pruning photoreceptors, referred to as phagocytosis, the molecule Mer must play its role. This molecule, however, is activated by two proteins: Gas6 and Protein S. The researchers from the Israelian institute demonstrated in their lab that these two proteins are essential to activating the phagocytosis of retinal photoreceptors and thus protecting the health of the retina. Their findings were published in the journal Neuron.

Source:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130106104534.htm

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