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Mitochondrial absorption of short wavelength light drives primate blue retinal cones into glycolysis which may increase their pace of aging

Kam, JH; Weinrich, TW; Sangha, H; Powner, MB; Fosbury, R; Jeffery, G; (2019) Mitochondrial absorption of short wavelength light drives primate blue retinal cones into glycolysis which may increase their pace of aging. Visual Neuroscience , 36 , Article E007. 10.1017/S0952523819000063. Green open access

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Abstract

Photoreceptors have high energy demands and densely packed mitochondria through which light passes before phototransduction. Old world primates including humans have three cone photoreceptor types mediating color vision with short (S blue), medium (M green), and long (L red) wavelength sensitivities. However, S-cones are enigmatic. They comprise <10% of the total cone population, their responses saturate early, and they are susceptible in aging and disease. Here, we show that primate S-cones actually have few mitochondria and are fueled by glycolysis, not by mitochondrial respiration. Glycolysis has a limited ability to sustain activity, potentially explaining early S-cone saturation. Mitochondria act as optical filters showing reduced light transmission at 400–450 nm where S-cones are most sensitive (420 nm). This absorbance is likely to arise in a mitochondrial porphyrin that absorbs strongly in the Soret band. Hence, reducing mitochondria will improve S-cone sensitivity but result in increased glycolysis as an alternative energy source, potentially increasing diabetic vulnerability due to restricted glucose access. Further, glycolysis carries a price resulting in premature functional decline as seen in aged S-cones. Soret band absorption may also impact on mitochondrial rich M and L cones by reducing sensitivity at the lower end of their spectral sensitivity range resulting in increased differentiation from S-cone responses. These data add to the list of unique characteristic of S-cones and may also explain aspects of their vulnerability.

Type: Article
Title: Mitochondrial absorption of short wavelength light drives primate blue retinal cones into glycolysis which may increase their pace of aging
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0952523819000063
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0952523819000063
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Institute of Ophthalmology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10102463
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