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Perspectives on Retinal Dolichol Metabolism, and Visual Deficits in Dolichol Metabolism-Associated Inherited Disorders

De novo synthesis of dolichol (Dol) and dolichyl phosphate (Dol-P) is essential for protein glycosylation. Herein, we provide a brief overview of Dol and Dol-P synthesis and the maintenance of their cellular content. Retinal Dol metabolism and the requirement of Dol-linked oligosaccharide synthesis in the neural retina also are discussed. There are recently discovered and an emerging class of rare congenital disorders that affect Dol metabolism, involving the genes DHDDS, NUS1, SRD5A3, and DOLK. Further understanding of these congenital disorders is evolving, based upon studies utilizing yeast and murine models, as well as clinical reports of these rare disorders. We summarize the known visual deficits associated with Dol metabolism disorders, and identify the need for generation and characterization of suitable animal models of these disorders to elucidate the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms of the associated retinopathies.