Haploinsufficiency is not the key mechanism of pathogenesis in a heterozygous Elovl4 knockout mouse model of STGD3 disease.
ABSTRACT Autosomal dominant Stargardt-like (STGD3) disease results from mutations in the ELOVL4 gene (elongation of very-long-chain fatty acids). This study was undertaken to characterize a mouse model with a targeted deletion of Elovl4 and to explore the role of this gene in retinal/macular degeneration.
A construct targeted to exon 2 of the Elovl4 gene was used to suppress expression of the gene. Elovl4 homozygous pups were nonviable and were not available for study. Hence, the analysis was performed on heterozygous Elovl4(+/-) mice 16 to 22 month of age and littermate wild-type (WT) control mice of the same age. Characterization included examining gene message and protein levels, electroretinogram (ERG), retinal morphology and ultrastructure, and plasma and retinal fatty acid composition.
Although the level of Elovl4 mRNA was reduced in Elovl4(+/-) retinas, only minimal morphologic abnormalities were found, and the retinal (ERG) function was essentially normal in Elovl4(+/-) retinas compared with the WT control retinas. Systemic fatty acid profiles of Elovl4(+/-) mice were unremarkable, although the concentration of several fatty acids was significantly lower in Elovl4(+/-) retinas, particularly the monounsaturated fatty acids.
The detailed characterization of this animal model provides the first in vivo evidence that Elovl4 haploinsufficiency is not the underlying key disease mechanism in STGD3. The results are consistent with a dominant negative mechanism for the deletion mutation. The Elovl4 knockout mouse is one of three complementary animal models that will help elucidate the disease mechanism.
Article: Stargardt-like macular dystrophy protein ELOVL4 exerts a dominant negative effect by recruiting wild-type protein into aggresomes.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Mutations in the gene Elongation of very long-chain fatty acids-4 (ELOVL4) have been shown to be associated with autosomal dominant Stargardt-like macular dystrophy (STGD3). ELOVL4 is expressed in photoreceptors and encodes a putative transmembrane protein of 314 amino acids with an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) retention signal. A 5 bp deletion in exon 6 of ELOVL4 observed in some STGD3 patients results in the truncation of the protein and loss of the ER retention signal. To understand the disease mechanism underlying STGD3 we studied the intracellular trafficking of the wild-type and a 5 bp deletion mutant of ELOVL4. Wild-type and mutant ELOVL4 proteins with the N-terminal GFP/V5 tags were expressed in COS-7 cells. Expression and the intracellular localization of the wild-type and mutant proteins were characterized by immunocytochemistry and western blot analysis using tag- and organelle-specific antibodies. Interaction between the wild-type and mutant proteins was studied by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) analysis. The mutant ELOVL4 protein exerted a dominant negative effect when the wild-type and 5 bp deletion mutant ELOVL4 proteins were co-expressed in COS-7 cells. Immunocytochemical analysis, two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and FRET revealed that the mutant ELOVL4 interacts with the wild-type protein, forming higher molecular mass complexes that accumulate in aggresomes. In the presence of mutant ELOVL4 protein, the wild-type protein was recruited into perinuclear cytoplasmic inclusions that resemble aggresomes. The interaction between the wild-type and mutant forms of ELOVL4 and the resultant alteration in the trafficking of the wild-type ELOVL4 protein suggest a mechanism for the pathogenicity observed in patients with autosomal dominant STGD3.Molecular vision 02/2005; 11:665-76. · 2.20 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To characterize the age-related accumulation of lipofuscin in a population of normal subjects, resolve differences in estimated accumulation rates obtained in previous studies, and characterize the spatial distribution of lipofuscin in the normal fundus. Spectrophotometric measurements were made at the fovea and 7 degrees temporal to the fovea in 145 normal subjects (age range, 15-80 years). Spatial distribution along the four cardinal meridians was measured in selected subjects by both spectrophotometry and autofluorescence imaging. To minimize contributions of extraneous fluorophores, macular pigment, and melanin, all measurements used excitation at 550 nm, integrating emission between 650 and 750 nm. Lipofuscin fluorescence increased linearly until age 70, then declined. The rate of accumulation was significantly slower in the fovea than at the temporal site; accumulation rates in vivo were greater than previously observed in microscopic studies. Fluorescence was approximately 40% lower in the fovea than at 7 degrees eccentricity and was asymmetrically distributed around the fovea. The fluorescence was maximal at approximately 11 degrees temporally, approximately 7 degrees nasally, approximately 13 degrees superiorly, and approximately 9 degrees inferiorly. At the same eccentricity, fluorescence was always less along the inferior meridian than along any other. Light absorption by RPE melanin can explain differences between the in vivo and ex vivo estimates of the rate of lipofuscin accumulation. Declining fluorescence at old age may represent removal of atrophic RPE cells. The spatial distribution of lipofuscin generally matches that of rods and reflects, rather than predicts, the pattern of age-related loss of rod photoreceptors.Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science 08/2001; 42(8):1855-66. · 3.60 Impact Factor