273 research outputs found

    Reply to Townes-Anderson: RPE65 Gene Therapy Does Not Alter the Natural History of Retinal Degeneration

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    We appreciate the interest shown by TownesAnderson in our article examining the natural history of retinal degeneration in Leber congenital amaurosis caused by retinal pigment epithelium-specific protein 65kDa (RPE65) mutations and evaluating the consequences of gene augmentation therapy. Townes-Anderson’s remarks focused on the final phrase of the last sentence of the Discussion of our article. In the full sentence, we suggested that in the future, agents to reduce cell death could be delivered in combination with a more advanced version of the gene augmentation therapy that reaches not only remaining rods and extrafoveal cones but also foveal cone photoreceptors

    rAAV2/5 Gene-Targeting to Rods: Dose-Dependent Efficiency and Complications Associated With Different Promoters

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    A prerequisite for using corrective gene therapy to treat humans with inherited retinal degenerative diseases that primarily affect rods is to develop viral vectors that target specifically this population of photoreceptors. The delivery of a viral vector with photoreceptor tropism coupled with a rod-specific promoter is likely to be the safest and most efficient approach to target expression of the therapeutic gene to rods. Three promoters that included a fragment of the proximal mouse opsin promoter (mOP), the human G-protein-coupled receptor protein kinase 1 promoter (hGRK1), or the cytomegalovirus immediate early enhancer combined with the chicken β actin proximal promoter CBA were evaluated for their specificity and robustness in driving GFP reporter gene expression in rods, when packaged in a recombinant adeno-associated viral vector of serotype 2/5 (AAV2/5), and delivered via subretinal injection to the normal canine retina. Photoreceptor-specific promoters (mOP, hGRK1) targeted robust GFP expression to rods, whereas the ubiquitously expressed CBA promoter led to transgene expression in the retinal pigment epithelium, rods, cones and rare Müller, horizontal and ganglion cells. Late onset inflammation was frequently observed both clinically and histologically with all three constructs when the highest viral titers were injected. Cone loss in the injected regions of the retinas that received the highest titers occurred with both the hGRK1 and CBA promoters. Efficient and specific rod transduction, together with preservation of retinal structure was achieved with both mOP and hGRK1 promoters when viral titers in the order of 1011 vg ml–1 were used

    Rapid, widespread transduction of the murine myocardium using self-complementary Adeno-associated virus

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    Adeno-associated virus (AAV) has shown great promise as a gene transfer vector. However, the incubation time needed to attain significant levels of gene expression is often too long for some clinical applications. Self-complementary AAV (scAAV) enters the cell as double stranded DNA, eliminating the step of second-strand synthesis, proven to be the rate-limiting step for gene expression of single-stranded AAV (ssAAV). The aim of this study was to compare the efficiency of these two types of AAV vectors in the murine myocardium. Four day old CD-1 mice were injected with either of the two AAV constructs, both expressing GFP and packaged into the AAV1 capsid. The animals were held for 4, 6, 11 or 21 days, after which they were euthanized and their hearts were excised. Serial sections of the myocardial tissue were used for real-time PCR quantification of AAV genome copies and for confocal microscopy. Although we observed similar numbers of AAV genomes at each of the different time points present in both the scAAV and the ssAAV infected hearts, microscopic analysis showed expression of GFP as early as 4 days in animals injected with the scAAV, while little or no expression was observed with the ssAAV constructs until day 11. AAV transduction of murine myocardium is therefore significantly enhanced using scAAV constructs

    Ribozyme Knockdown of the ␥-Subunit of Rod cGMP Phosphodiesterase Alters the ERG and Retinal Morphology in Wild-Type Mice

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    PURPOSE. To generate an animal model of retinal degeneration by using AAV-mediated ribozyme knockdown of the ␥-subunit of the rod cGMP phosphodiesterase (PDE␥) mRNA in the retina of wild-type mice. METHODS. Two hammerhead ribozymes, HRz35 and HRz42, were designed to target the PDE␥ gene in wild-type C57BL/6 mice. The efficiency and specificity of the ribozyme cleavage was tested in vitro against three different types of target: short synthetic RNA oligomers, longer targets transcribed from clones, and full-length mRNA from total retinal RNA extracts. After in vitro validation, the ribozymes were cloned and packaged in a recombinant adenoassociated virus (rAAV) containing a proximal 472-bp murine rod opsin promoter (MOPS) to drive ribozyme synthesis. Three-week-old wild-type C57BL/6 mice were injected subretinally with the vectors. For treated versus partner control retinas, responses to light were measured by full-field electroretinography (ERG), and retinal tissues were examined by light microscopy. Messenger RNA and protein levels of PDE␥ gene were monitored by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Western immunoblot assay. RESULTS. The ribozymes had comparable in vitro kinetic properties in multiple turnover kinetic analyses. Ribozyme HRz35 exhibited a K cat of 0.48 minute Ϫ1 and a K m of 980 nM, and HRz42 showed a K cat of 0.17 minute Ϫ1 and a K m of 971 nM. Both ribozymes cleaved at accessible sites in the RNA, as they digested long transcripts transcribed from clones and fulllength mRNA from total retinal RNA extracts in vitro. At increasing intervals after subretinal injection with either AAV ribozyme, a 30% to 90% reduction in a-and b-wave amplitudes was observed compared with those in contralateral control eyes that were not injected. Retinal tissue analysis showed that loss of the photoreceptor cells and PDE␥ mRNA and protein paralleled the ERG results. CONCLUSIONS. Ribozyme-mediated somatic knockdown of wildtype PDE␥ mRNA in vivo can efficiently reduce the target RNA leading to a loss in rod photoreceptors and in rod-mediated ERG amplitudes, thus generating an animal model of retinal degeneration resembling human RP in an essentially normal adult retina. This vector ribozyme technique should be applicable to other genes associated with RP and perhaps also to mRNAs of phototransduction genes not yet associated with RP. Application of this approach may be age and species independent. (Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2005;46: 3836 -3844

    Cone Phosphodiesterase-6γ’ Subunit Augments Cone PDE6 Holoenzyme Assembly and Stability in a Mouse Model Lacking Both Rod and Cone PDE6 Catalytic Subunits

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    Rod and cone phosphodiesterase 6 (PDE6) are key effector enzymes of the vertebrate phototransduction pathway. Rod PDE6 consists of two catalytic subunits PDE6α and PDE6β and two identical inhibitory PDE6γ subunits, while cone PDE6 is composed of two identical PDE6α’ catalytic subunits and two identical cone-specific PDE6γ’ inhibitory subunits. Despite their prominent function in regulating cGMP levels and therefore rod and cone light response properties, it is not known how each subunit contributes to the functional differences between rods and cones. In this study, we generated an rd10/cpfl1 mouse model lacking rod PDE6β and cone PDE6α’ subunits. Both rod and cone photoreceptor cells are degenerated with age and all PDE6 subunits degrade in rd10/cpfl1 mice. We expressed cone PDE6α’ in both rods and cones of rd10/cpfl1 mice by adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated delivery driven by the ubiquitous, constitutive small chicken β-actin promoter. We show that expression of PDE6α’ rescues rod function in rd10/cpfl1 mice, and the restoration of rod light sensitivity is attained through restoration of endogenous rod PDE6γ and formation of a functional PDE6α’γ complex. However, improved photopic cone responses were achieved only after supplementation of both cone PDE6α’ and PDE6γ’ subunits but not by PDE6α’ treatment alone. We observed a two fold increase of PDE6α’ levels in the eyes injected with both PDE6α’ plus PDE6γ’ relative to eyes receiving PDE6α’ alone. Despite the presence of both PDE6γ’ and PDE6γ, the majority of PDE6α’ formed functional complexes with PDE6γ’, suggesting that PDE6α’ has a higher association affinity for PDE6γ’ than for PDE6γ. These results suggest that the presence of PDE6γ’ augments cone PDE6 assembly and enhances its stability. Our finding has important implication for gene therapy of PDE6α’-associated achromatopsia

    Improvement in Vision: A New Goal for Treatment of Hereditary Retinal Degenerations

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    Introduction: Inherited retinal degenerations (IRDs) have long been considered untreatable and incurable. Recently, one form of early-onset autosomal recessive IRD, Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) caused by mutations in RPE65 (retinal pigment epithelium-specific protein 65 kDa) gene, has responded with some improvement of vision to gene augmentation therapy and oral retinoid administration. This early success now requires refinement of such therapeutics to fully realize the impact of these major scientific and clinical advances. Areas covered: Progress toward human therapy for RPE65-LCA is detailed from the understanding of molecular mechanisms to preclinical proof-of-concept research to clinical trials. Unexpected positive and complicating results in the patients receiving treatment are explained. Logical next steps to advance the clinical value of the therapeutics are suggested. Expert opinion: The first molecularly based early-phase therapies for an IRD are remarkably successful in that vision has improved and adverse events are mainly associated with surgical delivery to the subretinal space. Yet, there are features of the gene augmentation therapeutic response, such as slowed kinetics of night vision, lack of foveal cone function improvement and relentlessly progressive retinal degeneration despite therapy, that still require research attention