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Balajikarthick Subramanian, Manisha Anand, Naheed W. Khan, Hemant Khanna; Loss of Raf-1 Kinase Inhibitory Protein Delays Early-Onset Severe Retinal Ciliopathy in Cep290rd16 Mouse. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(9):5788-5794. doi: 10.1167/iovs.14-14954.
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Mutations in the cilia-centrosomal protein of centrosomal protein of 290 kDa (CEP290) result in severe ciliopathies, including autosomal recessive early onset childhood blindness disorder Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA). The Cep290rd16 (retinal degeneration 16) mouse model of CEP290-LCA exhibits accumulation of CEP290-interacting protein Raf-1 kinase inhibitory protein (RKIP) prior to onset of retinal degeneration (by postnatal day P14). We hypothesized that reducing RKIP levels in the Cep290rd16 mouse will delay or improve retinal phenotype.
We generated double mutant mice by combining the Cep290rd16 and Rkipko alleles (Cep290rd16 :Rkip+/ko and Cep290rd16 :Rkipko/ko ). Retinal function was assessed by ERG and retinal morphology and protein trafficking were assessed by histology, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and immunofluorescence analysis. Cell death was examined by apoptosis.
Prior to testing our hypothesis, we examined ERG and retinal morphology of Rkipko/ko mice and did not find any detectable differences compared with wild-type mice. The Cep290rd16 :Rkip+/ko mice exhibited similar retinopathy as Cep290rd16 ; however, Cep290rd16 : Rkipko/ko double knockout mice demonstrated a substantial improvement (>9-fold) in photoreceptor function and structure at P18 as of Cep290rd16 mice. We consistently detected transient preservation of photoreceptors at P18 and polarized trafficking of opsins to sensory cilia in the double mutant mice; however, retinal degeneration ensued by P30.
Our studies implicate CEP290-RKIP pathway in CEP290-retinal degeneration and suggest that targeting RKIP levels can delay photoreceptor degeneration, assisting in extending the time-window for treating such rapidly progressing blindness disorder.
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