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PRPH2 gene

peripherin 2

Normal Function

The PRPH2 gene (also known as RDS) provides instructions for making a protein called peripherin 2. This protein plays an important role in normal vision. Peripherin 2 is found in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye. This protein is essential for the normal function of specialized cells called photoreceptors that detect light and color. Within these cells, peripherin 2 is involved in the formation and stability of structures that contain light-sensing pigments.

Health Conditions Related to Genetic Changes

Vitelliform macular dystrophy

Mutations in the PRPH2 gene are responsible for some cases of adult-onset vitelliform macular dystrophy. Several mutations have been identified in people with this disorder, most of which change a single protein building block (amino acid) in peripherin 2. These mutations alter the protein's structure or lead to the production of an abnormally short, nonfunctional version of the protein. When peripherin 2 is altered or missing, photoreceptors break down (degenerate) over time. This loss of photoreceptors underlies the retinal abnormalities and progressive vision loss characteristic of vitelliform macular dystrophy. It is unclear why PRPH2 mutations affect only central vision in people with this disorder.

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Retinitis pigmentosa

Mutations in the PRPH2 gene can cause autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa, an eye disease that first disrupts night vision and side (peripheral) vision and eventually may result in blindness.  Like other retinal disorders caused by PRPH2 gene mutations, retinitis pigmentosa involves a slow degeneration of photoreceptor cells, leading to progressive vision loss.

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Cone-rod dystrophy

MedlinePlus Genetics provides information about Cone-rod dystrophy

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Other retinal dystrophies

Mutations in the PRPH2 gene cause a variety of retinal disorders, including a group of disorders called pattern dystrophies of the retinal pigment epithelium. These disorders typically begin in mid-adulthood and are characterized by an abnormal buildup of pigment in cells underlying the retina.

Some PRPH2 mutations can cause different eye disorders in affected members of the same family. For example, researchers have reported a family with retinitis pigmentosa (described above), pattern dystrophy of the retinal pigment epithelium, and retinitis punctata albescens (an eye disorder similar to retinitis pigmentosa) in different individuals with the same PRPH2 mutation. It is unclear why mutations in this gene cause such a wide range of retinal abnormalities.

Other Names for This Gene

  • CACD2
  • peripherin 2 (retinal degeneration, slow)
  • peripherin 2, homolog of mouse
  • peripherin, photoreceptor type
  • RDS
  • retinal degeneration slow protein
  • retinal degeneration, slow
  • Tetraspanin-22
  • TSPAN22

Additional Information & Resources

Tests Listed in the Genetic Testing Registry

Scientific Articles on PubMed

Gene and Variant Databases


  • Boon CJ, den Hollander AI, Hoyng CB, Cremers FP, Klevering BJ, Keunen JE. The spectrum of retinal dystrophies caused by mutations in the peripherin/RDS gene. Prog Retin Eye Res. 2008 Mar;27(2):213-35. doi: 10.1016/j.preteyeres.2008.01.002. Epub 2008 Jan 26. Citation on PubMed
  • Chung M, Lotery AJ. Genetics update of macular diseases. Ophthalmol Clin North Am. 2002 Dec;15(4):459-65. doi: 10.1016/s0896-1549(02)00045-7. Citation on PubMed
  • Felbor U, Schilling H, Weber BH. Adult vitelliform macular dystrophy is frequently associated with mutations in the peripherin/RDS gene. Hum Mutat. 1997;10(4):301-9. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-1004(1997)10:43.0.CO;2-J. Citation on PubMed
  • Francis PJ, Schultz DW, Gregory AM, Schain MB, Barra R, Majewski J, Ott J, Acott T, Weleber RG, Klein ML. Genetic and phenotypic heterogeneity in pattern dystrophy. Br J Ophthalmol. 2005 Sep;89(9):1115-9. doi: 10.1136/bjo.2004.062695. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Michaelides M, Holder GE, Bradshaw K, Hunt DM, Moore AT. Cone-rod dystrophy, intrafamilial variability, and incomplete penetrance associated with the R172W mutation in the peripherin/RDS gene. Ophthalmology. 2005 Sep;112(9):1592-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2005.04.004. Citation on PubMed
  • Sohocki MM, Daiger SP, Bowne SJ, Rodriquez JA, Northrup H, Heckenlively JR, Birch DG, Mintz-Hittner H, Ruiz RS, Lewis RA, Saperstein DA, Sullivan LS. Prevalence of mutations causing retinitis pigmentosa and other inherited retinopathies. Hum Mutat. 2001;17(1):42-51. doi: 10.1002/1098-1004(2001)17:13.0.CO;2-K. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Wang Q, Chen Q, Zhao K, Wang L, Wang L, Traboulsi EI. Update on the molecular genetics of retinitis pigmentosa. Ophthalmic Genet. 2001 Sep;22(3):133-54. doi: 10.1076/opge. Citation on PubMed
  • Wells J, Wroblewski J, Keen J, Inglehearn C, Jubb C, Eckstein A, Jay M, Arden G, Bhattacharya S, Fitzke F, et al. Mutations in the human retinal degeneration slow (RDS) gene can cause either retinitis pigmentosa or macular dystrophy. Nat Genet. 1993 Mar;3(3):213-8. doi: 10.1038/ng0393-213. Citation on PubMed
  • Yang Z, Li Y, Jiang L, Karan G, Moshfeghi D, O'Connor S, Li X, Yu Z, Lewis H, Zack D, Jacobson S, Zhang K. A novel RDS/peripherin gene mutation associated with diverse macular phenotypes. Ophthalmic Genet. 2004 Jun;25(2):133-45. doi: 10.1080/13816810490514388. Citation on PubMed
  • Yang Z, Lin W, Moshfeghi DM, Thirumalaichary S, Li X, Jiang L, Zhang H, Zhang S, Kaiser PK, Traboulsi EI, Zhang K. A novel mutation in the RDS/Peripherin gene causes adult-onset foveomacular dystrophy. Am J Ophthalmol. 2003 Feb;135(2):213-8. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(02)01815-9. Citation on PubMed
  • Zhang K, Garibaldi DC, Li Y, Green WR, Zack DJ. Butterfly-shaped pattern dystrophy: a genetic, clinical, and histopathological report. Arch Ophthalmol. 2002 Apr;120(4):485-90. doi: 10.1001/archopht.120.4.485. Citation on PubMed

The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.