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Joseph Fogerty, Joseph C. Besharse; 174delG Mutation in Mouse MFRP Causes Photoreceptor Degeneration and RPE Atrophy. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(10):7256-7266. doi: 10.1167/iovs.11-8112.
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The authors have identified a recessive mutation causing progressive retinal degeneration, white fundus flecks, and eventual retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) atrophy. The goal of these studies was to characterize the retinal phenotype, to identify the causative locus, and to examine possible functions of the affected gene.
SNP mapping, DNA sequencing, and genetic complementation were used to identify the affected locus. Histology, electroretinography, immunohistochemistry, Western blot analysis, fundus photography, electron microscopy, and in vitro phagocytosis assays were used to characterize the phenotype of the mouse.
Gene mapping identified a single base pair deletion in membrane-type frizzled related protein (MFRP), designated Mfrp 174delG . MFRP is normally expressed in the RPE and ciliary body but was undetectable by Western blot in mutants. CTRP5, a binding partner of MFRP, was upregulated at the mRNA level and at the protein level in most patients. Assays designed to test the integrity of retinoid cycling and phagocytic pathways showed no deficits in Mfrp 174delG or rd6 animals. However, the RPE of both Mfrp 174delG and rd6 mice exhibited a dramatic increase in the number of apical microvilli. Furthermore, evidence of RPE atrophy was evident in Mfrp 174delG mice by 21 months.
The authors have identified a novel null mutation in mouse Mfrp. This mutation causes photoreceptor degeneration and eventual RPE atrophy, which may be related to alterations in the number of RPE microvilli. These mice will be useful to identify a function of MFRP and to study the pathogenesis of atrophic macular degeneration.
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