W. Clay Smith, Ph.D.

Academic Title

Shaler-Richardson Associate Professor of Ophthalmology

Contact Information

(352) 273-8794 (phone)
(352) 392-0573 (fax)






Dr. Clay Smith receives Faculty Enhancement Opportunity Award
The Provost Office of the University of Florida recently announced Dr. Clay Smith, Associate Professor of Research, was named a recipient of a Faculty Enhancement Opportunity (FEO) award for the Fall semester. The FEO award is sponsored by the President’s office. See the full article here

Eyes are exquisitely sensitive detectors, capable of registering a single photon of light.  In my lab, we focus on how eyes achieve this amazing quantum detection ability.  Our primary interests cover the biochemistry and cellular biology of the early events in this process– how the eye captures photons, and how this information is reliably translated into a signal that can be utilized by the brain to form an image.  Since defects in this process often lead to visual complications, such as retinal degeneration and stationary night blindness, we anticipate that our studies will lead to therapies for these associated diseases.  In my lab, we utilize the tools of molecular biology, protein chemistry, structural biology, and cell biology to delve into these questions.

Publications from our lab

  • Smith TS, Spitzbarth B, Li J, Dugger DR, Stern-Schneider G, Sehn E, Bolch SN, McDowell JH, Tipton J, Wolfrum U, Smith WC (2013) Light-dependent phosphorylation of Bardet Biedl Syndrome 5 in photoreceptor cells modulates its interaction with arrestin1 Cell Mol Life Sci (in press) DOI: 10.1007/s00018-013-1403-4.
  • Kyger M, Worley A,Huan J, McDowell JH, Smith WC, Burrows GG, Mattapallil MJ, Caspi RR, Adamus G (2013) Effective arrestin-specific immunotherapy of experimental autoimmune uveitis with RTL: a prospect for treatment of human uveitis. Translational Vision Science Technol. (in press)
  • Lei L, Tzekov  R, McDowell JH, Smith WC, Tang S, Kaushal S (2013) Formation of lipofuscin-like material in the RPE cell by different components of rod outer segments. Exp Eye Res (in press)
  • Smith WC, Bolch SN, Dugger DR, Li J, Esquenazi I, Arendt A, Benzenhafer D, McDowell JH (2011) Interaction of arrestin with enolase1 in photoreceptors.  Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 52(3):1832-40. PMC3101666
  • Peden M, Min J, Lukowski Z, Meyers C, Li Q, Boye S, Levine M, Hauswirth W, Ratnakaram R, Dawson W,Smith WC, Sherwood M (2011)  Ab-Externo AAV-mediated Gene Delivery to the Suprachoroidal Space Using a 250 Micron Flexible Microcatheter.  PLosONE 6(2):e17140. PMC3037961
  • Semple-Rowland SL, Coggin WE, Geesey M, Eccles KS, Abraham L, Pachigar K, Ludlow R, Khani SC,Smith WC (2010) Expression characteristics of dual-promoter lentiviral vectors targeting retinal photoreceptors and Müller cells. Mol Vis. 16:916-934. PMC2878367
  • Orisme W, Goldmann T, Li J, Bolch S, Wolfrum U, Smith WC (2009) Arrestin translocation in rod photoreceptors is signaled through phospholipase C and is an ATP-dependent process.  Cellular Signaling (in press)
  • Saban DR, Elder IA, Nguyen CQ, Smith WC, Timmers AM, Grant MB, Peck AB (2008) Characterization of intraocular immunopathology following intracameral inoculation with alloantigen. Mol Vis. 14:615-24.
  • Sommer ME, Farrens DL, McDowell JH, Weber LA, Smith WC (2007) Dynamics of arrestin-rhodopsin interactions: loop movement is involved in arrestin activation and receptor binding.  J. Biol. Chem. 282: 25560-25568.
  • Forooghian F, Cheung RK, Smith WC, O’connor P, Dosch HM (2007) Enolase and Arrestin are Novel Nonmyelin Autoantigens in Multiple Sclerosis. J. Clin. Immunol. 27:388-396.
  • Ascano MT, Smith WC, Gregurick SK, Robinson PR (2006) Characterization of arrestin residues involved in the functional binding of arrestin to phosphorylated, photolyzed rhodopsin.  Molec. Vision 12: 1516-1525.
  • Reidel B, Orisme W, Goldmann T, Smith WC, Wolfrum W (2006) Molecular movements of arrestin and transducin studied in photoreceptors of organotypic cultures of mature vertebrate retinas.  Vision Res. 46: 4464-4471.
  • Sommer ME, Smith WC, Farrens D (2006)  Dynamics of arrestin-rhodopsin interactions: acidic phospholipids enable binding of arrestin to purified rhodopsin in detergent.  J Biol Chem. 281: 9407-9417.
  • Peterson JJ, Orisme W, Fellows J, McDowell JH, Shelamer CL, Dugger DR, Smith WC (2005) A role for cytoskeletal elements in the light-driven translocation of proteins in rod photoreceptors.  Invest. Opthalmol. Vis. Sci. 46: 3988-3998.
  • Sommer ME, Smith WC, Farrens D (2005) Dynamics of arrestin-rhodopsin interactions: arrestin and retinal release are directly linked events.  J Biol Chem. 280: 6861-6871.