• Alan Brown, PhD

    Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Chemistry, Harvard Medical School

    Research: “Visualizing rhodopsin trafficking by cryo-EM”


    “Visualizing rhodopsin trafficking by cryo-EM”

    Many of our senses are enabled by specialized structures called cilia, which are slender protrusions from the surface of cells. In the retina of the eye, cilia contain light-sensing proteins (such as rhodopsin) and the molecular machinery required to transmit light signals from the eye to the brain. These materials are ferried to cilia by large carrier proteins that select their cargo and then form trains that travel back-and-forth along the length of each cilium. Using a high-resolution visualization technique called electron cryomicroscopy (cryo-EM), our lab aims to elucidate the structural basis by which carrier proteins select their cargoes and establish the signaling pathways needed to transmit light signals in the eye. This information will allow us to elucidate how mutations disable this transport system and lead to visual impairment. Ultimately, we hope this work could lead to treatments that slow retinal deterioration or restore vision.



Copyright ©2011 E. Matilda Ziegler Foundation for the Blind