3 years ago

BBSome function is required for both the morphogenesis and maintenance of the photoreceptor outer segment

Val C. Sheffield, Seongjin Seo, Poppy Datta, Charles C. Searby, Addison R. Schmitz, Janelle E. Garrison, Gunhee Kim, Ying Hsu, Darryl Y. Nishimura, Qihong Zhang
Genetic mutations disrupting the structure and function of primary cilia cause various inherited retinal diseases in humans. Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS) is a genetically heterogeneous, pleiotropic ciliopathy characterized by retinal degeneration, obesity, postaxial polydactyly, intellectual disability, and genital and renal abnormalities. To gain insight into the mechanisms of retinal degeneration in BBS, we developed a congenital knockout mouse of Bbs8, as well as conditional mouse models in which function of the BBSome (a protein complex that mediates ciliary trafficking) can be temporally inactivated or restored. We demonstrate that BBS mutant mice have defects in retinal outer segment morphogenesis. We further demonstrate that removal of Bbs8 in adult mice affects photoreceptor function and disrupts the structural integrity of the outer segment. Notably, using a mouse model in which a gene trap inhibiting Bbs8 gene expression can be removed by an inducible FLP recombinase, we show that when BBS8 is restored in immature retinas with malformed outer segments, outer segment extension can resume normally and malformed outer segment discs are displaced distally by normal outer segment structures. Over time, the retinas of the rescued mice become morphologically and functionally normal, indicating that there is a window of plasticity when initial retinal outer segment morphogenesis defects can be ameliorated.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007057

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