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Am J Pathol. 2017 Mar;187(3):517-527. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2016.11.004. Epub 2016 Dec 30.

A Dominant Mutation in Rpe65, D477G, Delays Dark Adaptation and Disturbs the Visual Cycle in the Mutant Knock-In Mice.

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Department of Physiology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Department of Physiology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Electronic address:


RPE65 is an indispensable component of the retinoid visual cycle in vertebrates, through which the visual chromophore 11-cis-retinal (11-cis-RAL) is generated to maintain normal vision. Various blinding conditions in humans, such as Leber congenital amaurosis and retinitis pigmentosa (RP), are attributed to either homozygous or compound heterozygous mutations in RPE65. Herein, we investigated D477G missense mutation, an unprecedented dominant-acting mutation of RPE65 identified in patients with autosomal dominant RP. We generated a D477G knock-in (KI) mouse and characterized its phenotypes. Although RPE65 protein levels were decreased in heterozygous KI mice, their scotopic, maximal, and photopic electroretinography responses were comparable to those of wild-type (WT) mice in stationary condition. As shown by high-performance liquid chromatography analysis, levels of 11-cis-RAL in fully dark-adapted heterozygous KI mice were similar to that in WT mice. However, kinetics of 11-cis-RAL regeneration after light exposure were significantly slower in heterozygous KI mice compared with WT and RPE65 heterozygous knockout mice. Furthermore, heterozygous KI mice exhibited lower A-wave recovery compared with WT mice after photobleaching, suggesting a delayed dark adaptation. Taken together, these observations suggest that D477G acts as a dominant-negative mutant of RPE65 that delays chromophore regeneration. The KI mice provide a useful model for further understanding of the pathogenesis of RP associated with this RPE65 mutant and for the development of therapeutic strategies.

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