Although age-related macular degeneration is the most prevalent macular disease in the world, numerous discoveries regarding the molecular bases of vision have been made through genetic association studies of rare inherited maculopathies. In this issue of the JCI, Yang et al. present a functional genetics study that identifies a role for prominin 1 (PROM1), best known as a stem cell and/or progenitor cell marker, in the biogenesis of retinal photoreceptor disk arrays (see the related article beginning on page 2908). This study supports an established model in which disk morphogenesis occurs through membrane evagination and extends other recent studies assigning PROM1 important functions outside of the stem cell niche.
Mark E. Kleinman, Jayakrishna Ambati