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Adv Exp Med Biol. 2014;801:695-701. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-3209-8_87.

Cone specific promoter for use in gene therapy of retinal degenerative diseases.

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Department of Ophthalmology, College of Medicine, University of Florida, 1600 SW Archer Rd., 32610, Gainesville, FL, USA,


Achromatopsia (ACHM) is caused by a progressive loss of cone photoreceptors leading to color blindness and poor visual acuity. Animal studies and human clinical trials have shown that gene replacement therapy with adeno-associate virus (AAV) is a viable treatment option for this disease. Although there have been successful attempts to optimize capsid proteins for increased specificity, it is simpler to restrict expression via the use of cell type-specific promoters. To target cone photoreceptors, a chimeric promoter consisting of an enhancer element of interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein promoter and a minimal sequence of the human transducin alpha-subunit promoter (IRBPe/GNAT2) was created. Additionally, a synthetic transducin alpha-subunit promoter (synGNAT2/GNAT2) containing conserved sequence blocks located downstream of the transcriptional start was created. The strength and specificity of these promoters were evaluated in murine retina by immunohistochemistry. The results showed that the chimeric, (IRBPe/GNAT2) promoter is more efficient and specific than the synthetic, synGNAT2/GNAT2 promoter. Additionally, IRBPe/GNAT2-mediated expression was found in all cone subtypes and it was improved over existing promoters currently used for gene therapy of achromatopsia.

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