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The Role of Arl Proteins in Retinal and other Ciliary Diseases


Arl (Arf-like) proteins, GTP-binding proteins of the Ras superfamily, are molecular switches that cycle between a GDP-bound inactive and GTP-bound active state. There are 16 members of the Arl subfamily in the human genome whose basic mechanistic function is unknown. The interactome of Arl2/3 includes proteins involved in retinopathies and other ciliary diseases such as Leber¿s Congenital Amaurosis (LCA) and kidney diseases such as nephronophthisis. Arl6 has been found mutated in Bardet Biedl Syndrome, another pleiotropic ciliary disease. In the proposed interdisciplinary project I want to explore the function of the protein network of Arl2/3 and Arl6 by a combination of biochemical, biophysical and structural methods and use the knowledge obtained to probe their function in live cells. As with other subfamily proteins of the Ras superfamily which have been found to mediate similar biological functions I want to derive a basic understanding of the function of Arl proteins and how it relates to the development and function of the ciliary organelle and how they contribute to ciliary diseases. The molecules in the focus of the project are: the GTP-binding proteins Arl2, 3, 6; RP2, an Arl3GAP mutated in Retinitis pigmentosa; Regulators of Arl2 and 3; PDE¿ and HRG4, effectors of Arl2/3, which bind lipidated proteins; RPGR, mutated in Retinitis pigmentosa, an interactor of PDE¿; RPGRIP and RPGRIPL, interactors of RPGR mutated in LCA and other ciliopathies; Nephrocystin, mutated in nephronophthisis, an interactor of RPGRIP and Arl6, mutated in Bardet Biedl Syndrome, and the BBS complex. The working hypothesis is that Arl protein network(s) mediate ciliary transport processes and that the GTP switch cycle of Arl proteins is an important element of regulation of these processes.

Call for proposal

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Host institution

EU contribution
€ 2 434 400,00
80539 Munchen

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Bayern Oberbayern München, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Research Organisations
Administrative Contact
Barbara Dobruchowski (Mrs.)
Principal investigator
Alfred Wittinghofer (Prof.)
Total cost
No data

Beneficiaries (1)