Retinal-specific ATP-binding cassette transporter (IPR005951)

Short name: ABCA4/ABCR

Overlapping homologous superfamilies

Family relationships

  • ABC transporter A (IPR026082)
    • Retinal-specific ATP-binding cassette transporter (IPR005951)


The ABC transporter family is a group of membrane proteins that use the hydrolysis of ATP to power the translocation of a wide variety of substrates across cellular membranes. ABC transporters minimally consist of two conserved regions: a highly conserved nucleotide-binding domain (NBD) and a less conserved transmembrane domain (TMD). Eukaryotic ABC proteins are usually organised either as full transporters (containing two NBDs and two TMDs), or as half transporters (containing one NBD and one TMD), that have to form homo- or heterodimers in order to constitute a functional protein [PMID: 11441126].

Retinal-specific ATP-binding cassette transporter ABCA4 (also known as the Rim protein, ABCR) is a eukaryotic protein belonging to the ABC-A subfamily of the ABC transporter family. In humans, ABCA4 is localised with opsin photopigments in outer segment disc membranes of rod and cone photoreceptor cells. It serves as an N-retinylidene-phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylethanolamine importer [PMID: 22735453]. Mutations in the ABCA4 gene cause Stargardt macular degeneration, a recessive disease characterised by the loss in central vision, progressive bilateral atrophy of photoreceptor and retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells, accumulation of fluorescent deposits in the macula, and a delay in dark adaptation [PMID: 8002831, PMID: 1866151].

ABCR contains eight glycosylation sites. Four sites reside in a 600-amino acid exocytoplasmic domain of the N-terminal half between the first transmembrane segment H1 and the first multi-spanning membrane domain, and four sites are in a 275-amino acid domain of the C-terminal half between transmembrane segment H7 and the second multi-spanning membrane domain. This leads to a model in which each half has a transmembrane segment followed by a large exocytoplasmic domain, a multi-spanning membrane domain, and a nucleotide binding domain.

GO terms

Biological Process

GO:0006869 lipid transport
GO:0007601 visual perception

Molecular Function

GO:0005524 ATP binding
GO:0042626 ATPase activity, coupled to transmembrane movement of substances

Cellular Component

GO:0005887 integral component of plasma membrane

Contributing signatures

Signatures from InterPro member databases are used to construct an entry.