May 2003
Volume 44, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   May 2003
Genetic Suppression of Drosophila Retinal Degeneration Mutants
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • J.E. O'Tousa
    Dept of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, United States
  • J. Lee
    Dept of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, United States
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  J.E. O'Tousa, None; J. Lee, None.
  • Footnotes
    Support  NIH Grant EYO6818
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science May 2003, Vol.44, 2827. doi:
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      J.E. O'Tousa, J. Lee; Genetic Suppression of Drosophila Retinal Degeneration Mutants . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2003;44(13):2827.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract: : Purpose: Characterize genes controlling the progression of cell death due to the Drosophila phototransduction mutant norpA. Methods: We mutagenized Drosophila norpA mutants with the chemical mutagen EMS and selected second site mutants that slowed the rate of norpA degeneration. The experimental protocols used retinal genetic mosaics that allowed the recovery of developmental lethal mutants as suppressors. The initial selection of suppressors was based on their ability, in a noninvasive procedure, to retain the deep pseudopupil. Retinal tissues from all strains were then examined by light and electron microscopy. Results: norpA mutants completely lose the deep pseudopupil in five days under the constant light and 22°C temperature conditions used. We initially identified four different mutants on chromosome arm 2L that delayed the norpA degenerative process by at least four days. Additional genetic screens are ongoing to identify additional suppressors on other chromosome arms. None of the mutants appear capable of suppressing rdgB-triggered degeneration, but preliminary data shows one of these mutants may suppress degeneration triggered by a dominant rhodopsin mutation. The suppressor mutants are now being chromosomally mapped and may be coincident with lethal mutations. Conclusions: These experiments show that the Drosophila system allows identification of genes controlling the process of cell death, and retinal degeneration triggered by different genes may be share common components. Molecular analysis now underway will describe the encoded genes and should lead to a clearer understanding of the degenerative process.

Keywords: apoptosis/cell death • genetics • retinal degenerations: hereditary 

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