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J Neurosci. 2007 Jan 17;27(3):564-73.

A single amino acid substitution (Cys249Trp) in Crb1 causes retinal degeneration and deregulates expression of pituitary tumor transforming gene Pttg1.

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Department of Neuromedical Genetics, Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1105 BA Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Different mutations in the human Crumbs homolog-1 (CRB1) gene cause a variety of retinal dystrophies, such as Leber congenital amaurosis, early onset retinitis pigmentosa (e.g., RP12), RP with Coats-like exudative vasculopathy, and pigmented paravenous retinochoroidal atrophy. Loss of Crb1 leads to displaced photoreceptors and focal degeneration of all neural layers attributable to loss of adhesion between photoreceptors and Müller glia cells. To gain insight into genotype-phenotype relationship, we generated Crb1(C249W) mice that harbor an amino acid substitution (Cys249Trp) in the extracellular sixth calcium-binding epidermal growth factor domain of Crb1. Our analysis showed that Crb1(C249W) as wild-type protein trafficked to the subapical region adjacent to adherens junctions at the outer limiting membrane (OLM). Hence, these data suggest correct trafficking of the corresponding mutant CRB1 in RP12 patients. Crb1(C249W) mice showed loss of photoreceptors in the retina, relatively late compared with mice lacking Crb1. Scanning laser ophthalmoscopy revealed autofluorescent dots that presumably represent layer abnormalities after OLM disturbance. Gene expression analyses revealed lower levels of pituitary tumor transforming gene 1 (Pttg1) transcripts in Crb1(C249W/-) knock-in and Crb1(-/-) knock-out compared with control retinas. Exposure to white light decreased levels of Pttg1 in Crb1 mutant retinas. We hypothesize deregulation of Pttg1 expression attributable to a C249W substitution in the extracellular domain of Crb1.

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