DoctorsHenry KW Fong, PhD

Henry KW Fong, PhD

Henry KW Fong, PhD

Title: Associate Professor of Ophthalmology

Department: Ophthalmology

Research Topics:

Signal Transduction and Molecular Biology of Vision

Biography and Education

Research Interests:

Henry KW Fong, PhD, leads a research group whose goal to understand the ways in which cells communicate and receive information, as well as how they respond to stimuli. The group’s work focuses on signal transduction pathways involving receptors and G proteins, a class of guanine nucleotide binding proteins that act as messengers or transmitters of information within the cell. G proteins carry signals from activated membrane receptors to effector enzymes and ion channels, and play a major role in the sensory processes of vision and olfaction. Dr. Fong is studying the molecular genetics of G proteins and the function of specific G proteins and G protein-coupled receptors in the retina.

Our laboratory has identified a novel G protein-coupled receptor in retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells. The novel receptor is most homologous to the subfamily of visual pigments. The localization of this receptor in the RPE, the high level of expression of its mRNA, and its homology to the visual pigments suggest that the function of this receptor is important in the visual process involving the RPE. The molecular cloning and characterization of this selectively expressed gene will provide an entry point for genetic manipulation in mouse model systems and for further investigation of RPE cell function, differentiation, and disease.


  • University of Hawaii, Manoa, BS, Chemistry, 1976
  • University of California, San Diego, PhD, Physiology and Pharmacology, 1983
  • California Institute of Technology, Molecular Biology, Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1983-1988

Other WEB Profiles:



  • Jules and Doris Stein Research to Prevent Blindness Professorship, 1988-1993


  1. Kochounian H, Zhang Z, Spee C, Hinton DR, Fong HK. Targeting of Exon Vi-Skipping Human Rgr-Opsin to the Plasma Membrane of Pigment Epithelium and Co-Localization with Terminal Complement Complex C5b-9. Mol Vis. 2016;22:213-23.
  2. Kochounian H, Johnson LV, Fong HK. Accumulation of extracellular RGR-d in Bruch’s membrane and close association with drusen at intercapillary regions. Experimental eye research. 2009;88(6):1129-36. Epub 2009/05/20. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2009.01.019. PubMed PMID: 19450444; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPmc2763577.
  3. Lin MY, Kochounian H, Moore RE, Lee TD, Rao N, Fong HK. Deposition of exon-skipping splice isoform of human retinal G protein-coupled receptor from retinal pigment epithelium into Bruch’s membrane. Molecular vision. 2007;13:1203-14. Epub 2007/08/08. PubMed PMID: 17679941.
  4. Fong HK, Lin MY, Pandey S. Exon-skipping variant of RGR opsin in human retina and pigment epithelium. Experimental eye research. 2006;83(1):133-40. Epub 2006/03/15. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2005.11.013. PubMed PMID: 16530760.
  5. Yang M, Fong HK. Synthesis of the all-trans-retinal chromophore of retinal G protein-coupled receptor opsin in cultured pigment epithelial cells. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2002;277(5):3318-24. Epub 2001/11/28. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M108946200. PubMed PMID: 11723126.
  6. Van Hooser JP, Liang Y, Maeda T, Kuksa V, Jang GF, He YG, et al. Recovery of visual functions in a mouse model of Leber congenital amaurosis. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2002;277(21):19173-82. Epub 2002/03/19. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112384200. PubMed PMID: 11897783; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPmc1470660.
  7. Chen P, Lee TD, Fong HK. Interaction of 11-cis-retinol dehydrogenase with the chromophore of retinal g protein-coupled receptor opsin. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2001;276(24):21098-104. Epub 2001/03/29. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M010441200. PubMed PMID: 11274198.
  8. Chen P, Hao W, Rife L, Wang XP, Shen D, Chen J, et al. A photic visual cycle of rhodopsin regeneration is dependent on Rgr. Nature genetics. 2001;28(3):256-60. Epub 2001/06/30. doi: 10.1038/90089. PubMed PMID: 11431696.
  9. Yang M, Wang XG, Stout JT, Chen P, Hjelmeland LM, Appukuttan B, et al. Expression of a recombinant human RGR opsin in Lentivirus-transduced cultured cells. Molecular vision. 2000;6:237-42. Epub 2000/11/22. PubMed PMID: 11086144.
  10. Hao W, Chen P, Fong HK. Analysis of chromophore of RGR: retinal G-protein-coupled receptor from pigment epithelium. Methods in enzymology. 2000;316:413-22. Epub 2000/05/09. PubMed PMID: 10800691.
  11. Hao W, Fong HK. The endogenous chromophore of retinal G protein-coupled receptor opsin from the pigment epithelium. The Journal of biological chemistry. 1999;274(10):6085-90. Epub 1999/02/26. PubMed PMID: 10037690.
  12. Tao L, Shen D, Pandey S, Hao W, Rich KA, Fong HK. Structure and developmental expression of the mouse RGR opsin gene. Molecular vision. 1998;4:25. Epub 1998/12/08. PubMed PMID: 9841934.
  13. Hao W, Fong HK. Blue and ultraviolet light-absorbing opsin from the retinal pigment epithelium. Biochemistry. 1996;35(20):6251-6. Epub 1996/05/21. doi: 10.1021/bi952420k. PubMed PMID: 8639565.
  14. Chen XN, Korenberg JR, Jiang M, Shen D, Fong HK. Localization of the human RGR opsin gene to chromosome 10q23. Human genetics. 1996;97(6):720-2. Epub 1996/06/01. PubMed PMID: 8641686.
  15. Ong OC, Yamane HK, Phan KB, Fong HK, Bok D, Lee RH, et al. Molecular cloning and characterization of the G protein gamma subunit of cone photoreceptors. The Journal of biological chemistry. 1995;270(15):8495-500. Epub 1995/04/14. PubMed PMID: 7721746.
  16. Jiang M, Shen D, Tao L, Pandey S, Heller K, Fong HK. Alternative splicing in human retinal mRNA transcripts of an opsin-related protein. Experimental eye research. 1995;60(4):401-6. Epub 1995/04/01. PubMed PMID: 7789419.
  17. Shen D, Jiang M, Hao W, Tao L, Salazar M, Fong HK. A human opsin-related gene that encodes a retinaldehyde-binding protein. Biochemistry. 1994;33(44):13117-25. Epub 1994/11/08. PubMed PMID: 7947717.
  18. Pandey S, Blanks JC, Spee C, Jiang M, Fong HK. Cytoplasmic retinal localization of an evolutionary homolog of the visual pigments. Experimental eye research. 1994;58(5):605-13. Epub 1994/05/01. doi: 10.1006/exer.1994.1055. PubMed PMID: 7925698.
  19. Tao L, Pandey S, Simon MI, Fong HK. Structure of the bovine transducin gamma subunit gene and analysis of promoter function in transgenic mice. Experimental eye research. 1993;56(4):497-507. Epub 1993/04/01. doi: 10.1006/exer.1993.1063. PubMed PMID: 8500562.
  20. Jiang M, Pandey S, Fong HK. An opsin homologue in the retina and pigment epithelium. Investigative ophthalmology & visual science. 1993;34(13):3669-78. Epub 1993/12/01. PubMed PMID: 8258527.
  21. Jiang M, Pandey S, Tran VT, Fong HK. Guanine nucleotide-binding regulatory proteins in retinal pigment epithelial cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 1991;88(9):3907-11. Epub 1991/05/01. PubMed PMID: 1902575; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPmc51562.
  22. Hinton DR, Blanks JC, Fong HK, Casey PJ, Hildebrandt E, Simons MI. Novel localization of a G protein, Gz-alpha, in neurons of brain and retina. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 1990;10(8):2763-70. Epub 1990/08/01. PubMed PMID: 2117645.
  23. Casey PJ, Fong HK, Simon MI, Gilman AG. Gz, a guanine nucleotide-binding protein with unique biochemical properties. The Journal of biological chemistry. 1990;265(4):2383-90. Epub 1990/02/05. PubMed PMID: 2105321.
  24. Fong HK, Yoshimoto KK, Eversole-Cire P, Simon MI. Identification of a GTP-binding protein alpha subunit that lacks an apparent ADP-ribosylation site for pertussis toxin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 1988;85(9):3066-70. Epub 1988/05/01. PubMed PMID: 3129724; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPmc280144.
  25. Amatruda TT, 3rd, Gautam N, Fong HK, Northup JK, Simon MI. The 35- and 36-kDa beta subunits of GTP-binding regulatory proteins are products of separate genes. The Journal of biological chemistry. 1988;263(11):5008-11. Epub 1988/04/15. PubMed PMID: 3128533.
  26. Fong HK, Amatruda TT, 3rd, Birren BW, Simon MI. Distinct forms of the beta subunit of GTP-binding regulatory proteins identified by molecular cloning. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 1987;84(11):3792-6. Epub 1987/06/01. PubMed PMID: 3108879; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPmc304962.
  27. Fong HK, Hurley JB, Hopkins RS, Miake-Lye R, Johnson MS, Doolittle RF, et al. Repetitive segmental structure of the transducin beta subunit: homology with the CDC4 gene and identification of related mRNAs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 1986;83(7):2162-6. Epub 1986/04/01. PubMed PMID: 3083416; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPmc323251.
  28. Hurley JB, Fong HK, Teplow DB, Dreyer WJ, Simon MI. Isolation and characterization of a cDNA clone for the gamma subunit of bovine retinal transducin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 1984;81(22):6948-52. Epub 1984/11/01. PubMed PMID: 6438626; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPmc392053.
  29. Fong HK, Chick WL, Sato GH. Hormones and factors that stimulate growth of a rat islet tumor cell line in serum-free medium. Diabetes. 1981;30(12):1022-8. Epub 1981/12/01. PubMed PMID: 6273246.