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Elovl4 5-bp deletion does not accelerate cone photoreceptor degeneration in an all-cone mouse


Schori, Christian; Agbaga, Martin-Paul; Brush, Richard S; Ayyagari, Radha; Grimm, Christian; Samardzija, Marijana (2018). Elovl4 5-bp deletion does not accelerate cone photoreceptor degeneration in an all-cone mouse. PLoS ONE, 13(1):e0190514.

Abstract

Mutations in the elongation of very long chain fatty acid 4 (ELOVL4) gene cause Stargardt macular dystrophy 3 (STGD3), a rare, juvenile-onset, autosomal dominant form of macular degeneration. Although several mouse models have already been generated to investigate the link between the three identified disease-causing mutations in the ELOVL4 gene, none of these models recapitulates the early-onset cone photoreceptor cell death observed in the macula of STGD3 patients. To address this specifically, we investigated the effect of mutant ELOVL4 in a mouse model with an all-cone retina. Hence, we bred mice carrying the heterozygously mutated Elovl4 gene on the R91W;Nrl-/- all-cone background and analyzed the retinal lipid composition, morphology, and function over the course of 1 year. We observed a reduction of total phosphatidylcholine-containing very long chain-polyunsaturated fatty acids (PC-VLC-PUFAs) by 39% in the R91W;Nrl-/-;Elovl4 mice already at 6 weeks of age with a pronounced decline of the longest forms of PC-VLC-PUFAs. Total levels of shorter-chain fatty acids (< C26) remained unaffected. However, this reduction in PC-VLC-PUFA content in the all-cone retina had no impact on morphology or function and did not accelerate retinal degeneration in the R91W;Nrl-/-;Elovl4 mice. Taken together, mutations in the ELOVL4 gene lead to cone degeneration in humans, whereas mouse models expressing the mutant Elovl4 show predominant rod degeneration. The lack of a phenotype in the all-cone retina expressing the mutant form of the protein supports the view that aberrant function of ELOVL4 is especially detrimental for rods in mice and suggests a more subtle role of VLC-PUFAs for cone maintenance and survival.

Abstract

Mutations in the elongation of very long chain fatty acid 4 (ELOVL4) gene cause Stargardt macular dystrophy 3 (STGD3), a rare, juvenile-onset, autosomal dominant form of macular degeneration. Although several mouse models have already been generated to investigate the link between the three identified disease-causing mutations in the ELOVL4 gene, none of these models recapitulates the early-onset cone photoreceptor cell death observed in the macula of STGD3 patients. To address this specifically, we investigated the effect of mutant ELOVL4 in a mouse model with an all-cone retina. Hence, we bred mice carrying the heterozygously mutated Elovl4 gene on the R91W;Nrl-/- all-cone background and analyzed the retinal lipid composition, morphology, and function over the course of 1 year. We observed a reduction of total phosphatidylcholine-containing very long chain-polyunsaturated fatty acids (PC-VLC-PUFAs) by 39% in the R91W;Nrl-/-;Elovl4 mice already at 6 weeks of age with a pronounced decline of the longest forms of PC-VLC-PUFAs. Total levels of shorter-chain fatty acids (< C26) remained unaffected. However, this reduction in PC-VLC-PUFA content in the all-cone retina had no impact on morphology or function and did not accelerate retinal degeneration in the R91W;Nrl-/-;Elovl4 mice. Taken together, mutations in the ELOVL4 gene lead to cone degeneration in humans, whereas mouse models expressing the mutant Elovl4 show predominant rod degeneration. The lack of a phenotype in the all-cone retina expressing the mutant form of the protein supports the view that aberrant function of ELOVL4 is especially detrimental for rods in mice and suggests a more subtle role of VLC-PUFAs for cone maintenance and survival.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Ophthalmology Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:01 Feb 2018 11:33
Last Modified:19 Aug 2018 13:47
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0190514
PubMed ID:29293603
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID31003A_149311
  • : Project TitleBlinding Diseases of the Retina: Molecular Signaling and approaches to preserve vision

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