Journal Article

The N-terminal region of centrosomal protein 290 (CEP290) restores vision in a zebrafish model of human blindness

Lisa M. Baye, Xiaobai Patrinostro, Svetha Swaminathan, John S. Beck, Yan Zhang, Edwin M. Stone, Val C. Sheffield and Diane C. Slusarski

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 20, issue 8, pages 1467-1477
Published in print April 2011 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online January 2011 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddr025

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The gene coding for centrosomal protein 290 (CEP290), a large multidomain protein, is the most frequently mutated gene underlying the non-syndromic blinding disorder Leber's congenital amaurosis (LCA). CEP290 has also been implicated in several cilia-related syndromic disorders including Meckel–Gruber syndrome, Joubert syndrome, Senor–Loken syndrome and Bardet–Biedl syndrome (BBS). In this study, we characterize the developmental and functional roles of cep290 in zebrafish. An antisense oligonucleotide [Morpholino (MO)], designed to generate an altered cep290 splice product that models the most common LCA mutation, was used for gene knockdown. We show that cep290 MO-injected embryos have reduced Kupffer's vesicle size and delays in melanosome transport, two phenotypes that are observed upon knockdown of bbs genes in zebrafish. Consistent with a role in cilia function, the cep290 MO-injected embryos exhibited a curved body axis. Patients with LCA caused by mutations in CEP290 have reduced visual perception, although they present with a fully laminated retina. Similarly, the histological examination of retinas from cep290 MO-injected zebrafish revealed no gross lamination defects, yet the embryos had a statistically significant reduction in visual function. Finally, we demonstrate that the vision impairment caused by the disruption of cep290 can be rescued by expressing only the N-terminal region of the human CEP290 protein. These data reveal that a specific region of the CEP290 protein is sufficient to restore visual function and this region may be a viable gene therapy target for LCA patients with mutations in CEP290.

Journal Article.  6677 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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