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Qi Lu, Tushar H. Ganjawala, Samer Hattar, Gary W. Abrams, Zhuo-Hua Pan; A Robust Optomotor Assay for Assessing the Efficacy of Optogenetic Tools for Vision Restoration. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(3):1288-1294. doi: 10.1167/iovs.17-23278.
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To develop an animal behavioral assay for the quantitative assessment of the functional efficacy of optogenetic therapies.
A triple-knockout (TKO) mouse line, Gnat1−/−Cnga3−/−Opn4−/−, and a double-knockout mouse line, Gnat1−/−Cnga3−/−, were employed. The expression of channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) and its three more light-sensitive mutants, ChR2-L132C, ChR2-L132C/T159C, and ChR2-132C/T159S, in inner retinal neurons was achieved using rAAV2 vectors via intravitreal delivery. Pupillary constriction was assessed by measuring the pupil diameter. The optomotor response (OMR) was examined using a homemade optomotor system equipped with light-emitting diodes as light stimulation.
A robust OMR was restored in the ChR2-mutant-expressing TKO mice; however, significant pupillary constriction was observed only for the ChR2-L132C/T159S mutant. The ability to evoke an OMR was dependent on both the light intensity and grating frequency. The most light-sensitive frequency for the three ChR2 mutants was approximately 0.042 cycles per degree. Among the three ChR2 mutants, ChR2-L132C/T159S was the most light sensitive, followed by ChR2-L132C/T159C and ChR2-L132C. Melanopsin-mediated pupillary constriction resulted in a substantial reduction in the light sensitivity of the ChR2-mediated OMR.
The OMR assay using TKO mice enabled the quantitative assessment of the efficacy of different optogenetic tools and the properties of optogenetically restored vision. Thus, the assay can serve as a valuable tool for developing effective optogenetic therapies.
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