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Rhodopsin as a Molecular Target to Mitigate Retinitis Pigmentosa

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of hereditary degenerative diseases affecting 1 of 4000 people worldwide and being the most prevalent cause of visual handicap among working populations in developed countries. These disorders are mainly related to the abnormalities in the rod G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), rhodopsin reflected in the dysregulated membrane trafficking, stability and phototransduction processes that lead to progressive loss of retina function and eventually blindness. Currently, there is no cure for RP, and the therapeutic options are limited. Targeting rhodopsin with small molecule chaperones to improve the folding and stability of the mutant receptor is one of the most promising pharmacological approaches to alleviate the pathology of RP. This review provides an update on the current knowledge regarding small molecule compounds that have been evaluated as rhodopsin modulators to be considered as leads for the development of novel therapies for RP.

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