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Abstract #95527 Published in IGR 22-2

Mouse Models of Achromatopsia in Addressing Temporal "Point of No Return" in Gene-Therapy

Wang NK; Liu PK; Kong Y; Levi SR; Huang WC; Hsu CW; Wang HH; Chen N; Tseng YJ; Quinn PMJ; Quinn PMJ; Quinn PMJ; Tai MH; Lin CS; Tsang SH
International journal of molecular sciences 2021; 22:


Achromatopsia is characterized by amblyopia, photophobia, nystagmus, and color blindness. Previous animal models of achromatopsia have shown promising results using gene augmentation to restore cone function. However, the optimal therapeutic window to elicit recovery remains unknown. Here, we attempted two rounds of gene augmentation to generate recoverable mouse models of achromatopsia including a model with a knock-in stop cassette in intron 5 using -CRISPR (fficient dditions with sDNA nserts-CRISPR) and targeted embryonic stem (ES) cells. This model demonstrated that only 20% of CNGA3 levels in homozygotes derived from target ES cells remained, as compared to normal CNGA3 levels. Despite the low percentage of remaining protein, the knock-in mouse model continued to generate normal cone phototransduction. Our results showed that a small amount of normal CNGA3 protein is sufficient to form "functional" CNG channels and achieve physiological demand for proper cone phototransduction. Thus, it can be concluded that mutating the locus to disrupt the functional tetrameric CNG channels may ultimately require more potent STOP cassettes to generate a reversible achromatopsia mouse model. Our data also possess implications for future -associated achromatopsia clinical trials, whereby restoration of only 20% functional CNGA3 protein may be sufficient to form functional CNG channels and thus rescue cone response.

Department of Ophthalmology, Edward S. Harkness Eye Institute, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, NY 10032, USA.

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