Postnatal manipulation of Pax6 dosage reverses congenital tissue malformation defects

The Journal of clinical investigation (Impact Factor: 13.22). 12/2013; 124(1). DOI: 10.1172/JCI70462
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Aniridia is a congenital and progressive panocular condition with poor visual prognosis that is associated with brain, olfactory, and pancreatic abnormalities. Development of aniridia is linked with nonsense mutations that result in paired box 6 (PAX6) haploinsufficiency. Here, we used a mouse model of aniridia to test the hypothesis that manipulation of Pax6 dosage through a mutation-independent nonsense mutation suppression strategy would limit progressive, postnatal damage in the eye. We focused on the nonsense suppression drugs 3-[5-(2-fluorophenyl)-1,2,4-oxadiazol-3-yl]benzoic acid (ataluren) and gentamicin. Remarkably, we demonstrated that nonsense suppression not only inhibited disease progression but also stably reversed corneal, lens, and retinal malformation defects and restored electrical and behavioral responses of the retina. The most successful results were achieved through topical application of the drug formulation START (0.9% sodium chloride, 1% Tween 80, 1% powdered ataluren, 1% carboxymethylcellulose), which was designed to enhance particle dispersion and to increase suspension viscosity. These observations suggest that the eye retains marked developmental plasticity into the postnatal period and remains sensitive to molecular remodeling. Furthermore, these data indicate that other neurological developmental anomalies associated with dosage-sensitive genetic mutations may be reversible through nonsense suppression therapeutics.

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Available from: Kevin Gregory-Evans, Oct 14, 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Aniridia is a panocular disorder that severely affects vision in early life. Most cases are caused by dominantly inherited mutations or deletions of the PAX6 gene, which encodes a transcription factor that is essential for the development of the eye and the central nervous system. In this issue of the JCI, Gregory-Evans and colleagues demonstrate that early postnatal topical administration of an ataluren-based formulation reverses congenital malformations in the postnatal mouse eye, providing evidence that manipulation of PAX6 after birth may lead to corrective tissue remodeling. These findings offer hope that ataluren administration could be a therapeutic paradigm applicable to some major congenital eye defects.
    The Journal of clinical investigation 12/2013; 124(1):1-4. DOI:10.1172/JCI73560 · 13.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: To highlight major advancements in ocular genetics from the year 2013. Design: Literature review. Methods: A literature search was conducted on PubMed to identify articles pertaining to genetic influences on human eye diseases. This review focuses on manuscripts published in print or online in the English language between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013. A total of 120 papers from 2013 were included in this review. Results: Significant progress has been made in our understanding of the genetic basis of a broad group of ocular disorders, including glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, keratoconus, Fuchs' endothelial dystrophy, and refractive error. Conclusions: The latest next-generation sequencing technologies have become extremely effective tools for identifying gene mutations associated with ocular disease. These technological advancements have also paved the way for utilization of genetic information in clinical practice, including disease diagnosis, prediction of treatment response and molecular interventions guided by gene-based knowledge.
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    ABSTRACT: The eye has become an excellent target for gene therapy, and gene augmentation therapy of inherited retinal disorders has made major progress in recent years. Nevertheless, a recent study indicated that gene augmentation intervention might not stop the progression of retinal degeneration in patients. In addition, for many genes, viral-mediated gene augmentation is currently not feasible due to gene size and limited packaging capacity of viral vectors as well as expression of various heterogeneous isoforms of the target gene. Thus, alternative gene-based strategies to stop or delay the retinal degeneration are necessary. This review focuses on an alternative pharmacologic treatment strategy based on the usage of translational read-through inducing drugs (TRIDs) such as PTC124, aminoglycoside antibiotics, and designer aminoglycosides for overreading in-frame nonsense mutations. This strategy has emerged as an option for up to 30-50% of all cases of recessive hereditary retinal dystrophies. In-frame nonsense mutations are single-nucleotide alterations within the gene coding sequence resulting in a premature stop codon. Consequently, translation of such mutated genes leads to the synthesis of truncated proteins, which are unable to fulfill their physiologic functions. In this context, application of TRIDs facilitates the recoding of the premature termination codon into a sense codon, thus restoring syntheses of full-length proteins. So far, clinical trials for non-ocular diseases have been initiated for diverse TRIDs. Although the clinical outcome is not analyzed in detail, an excellent safety profile, namely for PTC124, was clearly demonstrated. Moreover, recent data demonstrated sustained read-through efficacies of nonsense mutations causing retinal degeneration, as manifested in the human Usher syndrome. In addition, a strong retinal biocompatibility for PTC124 and designer aminoglycosides has been demonstrated. In conclusion, recent progress emphasizes the potential of TRIDs as an alternative pharmacologic treatment strategy for treating nonsense mutation-based retinal disorders.
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