The Photoreceptor Connecting Cilium A Model for the Transition Zone

A Model for the Transition Zone
  • Joseph C. Besharse
  • Cynthia J. Horst


Vertebrate photoreceptors provide an excellent system for investigating the organization and maintenance of the membrane domains and cell polarity necessary for sensory function. In particular, the connecting cilium of photoreceptors appears to play an important role in photoreceptor organization. This specialized region corresponds structurally to the transition zone of motile cilia. As a consequence, studies of the structure and function of the photoreceptor connecting cilium are likely to provide insight into the function of the transition zone of motile and sensory cilia found more generally in eukaryotic cells. The purpose of this chapter is to review our current understanding of both the structure and function of the photoreceptor connecting cilium with emphasis on features that it may share with other cilia. The principal focus of recent research is on the role of the connecting cilium in the generation and maintenance of the polarized structure of photoreceptors. Details of the many recent advances in photoreceptor development, molecular biology, transduction, and membrane turnover are beyond the scope of this chapter, but are discussed in a series of recent reviews (Papermaster and Schneider, 1982; Bok, 1985; Besharse, 1982, 1986; Besharse et al., 1988; Liebman, 1987; Applebury and Hargrave, 1986; Adler, 1986).


Outer Segment Retinal Photoreceptor Ciliary Membrane Doublet Microtubule Vertebrate Photoreceptor 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph C. Besharse
    • 1
  • Cynthia J. Horst
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and Cell BiolgyEmory University School of MedicineAtlantaUSA

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