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Gene Therapy Rescues Retinal Degeneration in Receptor Expression-Enhancing Protein 6 Mutant Mice.

Authors
  • Zaneveld, Smriti Agrawal1, 2
  • Eblimit, Aiden1, 2
  • Liang, Qingnan1, 3
  • Bertrand, Renae1, 3
  • Wu, Nathaniel1, 2
  • Liu, Hehe1, 2
  • Nguyen, Quynh3
  • Zaneveld, Jacques1, 2
  • Wang, Keqing1, 2
  • Li, Yumei1, 2
  • Chen, Rui1, 2
  • 1 1 Human Genome Sequencing Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.
  • 2 2 Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.
  • 3 3 Department of Biochemistry, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Human Gene Therapy
Publisher
Mary Ann Liebert
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2019
Volume
30
Issue
3
Pages
302–315
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1089/hum.2018.078
PMID: 30101608
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Hereditary retinal dystrophy is clinically defined as a broad group of chronic and progressive disorders that affect visual function by causing photoreceptor degeneration. Previously, we identified mutations in the gene encoding receptor expression-enhancing protein 6 (REEP6), in individuals with autosomal recessive retinitis pigmentosa (RP), the most common form of inherited retinal dystrophy. One individual was molecularly diagnosed with biallelic REEP6 mutations, a missense mutation over a frameshift mutation. In this study, we generated Reep6 compound heterozygous mice, Reep6L135P/-, which mimic the patient genotype and recapitulate the early-onset retinal degeneration phenotypes observed in the individual with RP. To determine the feasibility of rescuing the Reep6 mutant phenotype via gene replacement therapy, we delivered Reep6.1, the mouse retina-specific isoform of REEP6, to photoreceptors of Reep6 mutant mice on postnatal day 20. Evaluation of the therapeutic effects 2 months posttreatment showed improvements in the photoresponse as well as preservation of photoreceptor cells. Importantly, guanylyl cyclase 1 (GC1) expression was also restored to the outer segment after treatment. Furthermore, rAAV8-Reep6.1 single treatment in Reep6 mutant mice 1 year postinjection showed significant improvements in retinal function and morphology, suggesting that the treatment is effective even after a prolonged period. Findings from this study show that gene replacement therapy in the retina with rAAV overexpressing Reep6 is effective, preserving photoreceptor function in Reep6 mutant mice. These findings provide evidence that rAAV8-based gene therapy can prolong survival of photoreceptors in vivo and can be potentially used as a therapeutic modality for treatment of patients with RP.

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