- Reviewing EditorAudrey BernsteinState University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, United States of America
- Senior EditorUtpal BanerjeeUniversity of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, United States of America
Reviewer #2 (Public Review):
In this study, Lewis et al seek to further define the role of ROM1. ROM1 is a tetraspanin protein that oligomerizes with another tetraspanin, PRPH2, to shape the rims of the membrane discs that comprise the light sensitive outer segment of vertebrate photoreceptors. ROM1 knockout mice and several PRPH2 mutant mice are reexamined. The conclusion reached is that ROM1 is redundant to PRPH2 in regulating the size of newly forming discs, although excess PRPH2 is required to compensate for the loss of ROM1.
This replicates earlier findings, while adding rigor using a mass spectrometry-based approach to quantitate the ratio of ROM1 and PRPH2 to rhodopsin (the protein packed in the body of the disc membranes) and careful analysis of tannic acid labeled newly forming discs using transmission electron microscopy.
In ROM1 knockout mice PRPH2 expression was found to be increased so that the level of PRPH2 in those mice matches the combined amount of PRPH2 and ROM1 in wildtype mice. Despite this, there are defects in disc formation that are resolved when the ROM1 knockout is crossed to a PRPH2 overexpressing line. A weakness of the study is that the molar ratios between ROM1, PRPH2 and rhodopsin were not measured in the PRPH2 overexpressing mice. This would have allowed the authors to be more precise in their conclusion that a sufficient excess of PRPH2 can compensate for defects in ROM1.
Reviewer #3 (Public Review):
In this manuscript, Lewis et al. investigate the role of tetraspanins in the formation of discs- the key structure of vertebrate photoreceptors essential for light reception. Two tetraspanin proteins play a role in this process: PRPH2 and ROM1. The critical contribution of PRPH2 has been well established and loss of its function is not tolerated and result in gross anatomical pathology and degeneration in both mice and humans. However, the role of ROM1 is much less understood and has been considered somewhat redundant. This paper provides a definitive answer about the long-standing uncertainty regarding the contribution of ROM1 firmly establishing its role in outer segment morphogenesis. First, using ingenious quantitative proteomic technique the authors show PRPH2 compensatory increase in ROM1 knockout explaining the redundancy of its function. Second, they uncover that despite this compensation, ROM1 is still needed and its loss delays disc enclosure and result in the failure to form incisures. Third, the authors used a transgenic mouse model and show that deficits seen in ROM1 KO could be completely compensated by the overexpression of PRPH2. Finally, they analyzed yet another mouse model based on double manipulation with both ROM1 loss and expression of PRPH2 mutant unable to form dimerizing disulfide bonds further arguing that PRPH2-ROM1 interactions are not required for disc enclosure. To top it off the authors complement their in vivo studies by series of biochemical assays done upon reconstitution of tetraspanins in transfected cultured cell as well as fractionations of native retinas. This report is timely, addresses significant questions in cell biology of photoreceptors and pushes the field forward in a classical area of photoreceptor biology and mechanics of membrane structure as well. The manuscript is executed at the top level of technical standard, exceptionally well written and does not leave much more to desire. It also pushes standards of the field- one such domain is quantitative approach to analysis of the EM images which is notoriously open to alternative interpretations - yet this study does an exceptional job unbiasing this approach.