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1.  New VMD2 gene mutations identified in patients affected by Best vitelliform macular dystrophy 
Journal of Medical Genetics  2007;44(3):e70.
The mutations responsible for Best vitelliform macular dystrophy (BVMD) are found in a gene called VMD2. The VMD2 gene encodes a transmembrane protein named bestrophin‐1 (hBest1) which is a Ca2+‐sensitive chloride channel. This study was performed to identify disease‐specific mutations in 27 patients with BVMD. Because this disease is characterised by an alteration in Cl− channel function, patch clamp analysis was used to test the hypothesis that one of the VMD2 mutated variants causes the disease.
Direct sequencing analysis of the 11 VMD2 exons was performed to detect new abnormal sequences. The mutant of hBest1 was expressed in HEK‐293 cells and the associated Cl− current was examined using whole‐cell patch clamp analysis.
Six new VMD2 mutations were identified, located exclusively in exons four, six and eight. One of these mutations (Q293H) was particularly severe. Patch clamp analysis of human embryonic kidney cells expressing the Q293H mutant showed that this mutant channel is non‐functional. Furthermore, the Q293H mutant inhibited the function of wild‐type bestrophin‐1 channels in a dominant negative manner.
This study provides further support for the idea that mutations in VMD2 are a necessary factor for Best disease. However, because variable expressivity of VMD2 was observed in a family with the Q293H mutation, it is also clear that a disease‐linked mutation in VMD2 is not sufficient to produce BVMD. The finding that the Q293H mutant does not form functional channels in the membrane could be explained either by disruption of channel conductance or gating mechanisms or by improper trafficking of the protein to the plasma membrane.
PMCID: PMC2598027  PMID: 17287362
2.  ETS-1 and ETS-2 are upregulated in a transgenic mouse model of pigmented ocular neoplasm 
Molecular Vision  2008;14:1912-1928.
Choroidal melanoma is the most common primary malignant ocular tumor in human adults. Relevant mouse models of human uveal melanoma still remain to be developed. We have studied the transgenic mouse strain, Tyrp-1-TAg, to try to gain insight into possible molecular mechanisms common to pigmented ocular neoplasms occurring spontaneously in the eyes of these mice and human choroidal melanoma. The role of two members of the ETS (E26 avian leukemia oncogene) family of transcription factors, ETS-1 and ETS-2, has been investigated in many cancers but has not yet been studied in ocular tumors.
This is the first study describing the production and distribution of ETS-1 and ETS-2 mRNAs and proteins using in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry in murine ocular tissue sections of normal control eyes and tumoral eyes from mice of the same age. Using semi-quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT–PCR) and western blots experiments, we compared changes in ETS-1 and ETS-2 expression, their protein levels, and the regulation of some of their target gene expressions at different stages of the ocular tumoral progression in the transgenic mouse model, Tyrp-1-TAg, with those in normal eyes from control mice of the same age.
In normal control adult mouse eyes, ETS-1 was mostly present in the nuclei of all neuroretinal layers whereas ETS-2 was mostly localized in the cytosol of the cell bodies of these layers with a smaller amount present in the nuclei. Both were found in the retinal pigmentary epithelium (RPE). ETS-1 and ETS-2 mRNA and protein levels were much higher in the ocular tissues of Tyrp-1-TAg mice than in control ocular tissues from wild-type mice. This upregulation was correlated with tumor progression. We also demonstrated upregulation of ETS-1 and ETS-2 target expressions in Tyrp-1-TAg mice when comparing with the same target expressions in control mice.
Our findings suggest that ETS-1 and ETS-2 are upregulated in ocular tumors derived from the retinal epithelium and may be involved in one or several signaling pathways that activate the expression of a set of genes involved in ocular tumor progression such as those encoding ICAM-1 (intercellular adhesion molecule-1), PAI-1 (Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1), MCP-1 (monocyte chemoattractant protein-1) and p16 (Cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor 2A).
PMCID: PMC2573735  PMID: 18958307
3.  Differential regulation of Dlg1, Scrib, and Lgl1 expression in a transgenic mouse model of ocular cancer 
Molecular Vision  2008;14:2390-2403.
Discs large (dlg), scribble (scrib), and lethal giant larvae (lgl) are major suppressor genes in Drosophila melanogaster. They encode proteins that regulate cell polarity and cell proliferation in Drosophila and mammals. However, their basic oncogenic roles have not yet been established in mouse epithelial ocular cancer. We evaluated the potential implication of these proteins in tumorigenesis of adenocarcinomas originating from the retinal pigmented epithelium of the Trp1/Tag transgenic mouse model. We examined the changes in the distribution and levels of these proteins in mouse ocular tissues from the Trp1/Tag mouse model.
The expression patterns of theses genes and their corresponding proteins in normal mouse ocular tissues were studied by in situ hibridization and immunohistofluorescence experiments. In addition, variations in mRNA and proteins levels and protein distributions for Dlg1, Scrib, and Lgl1 were analyzed in the ocular tissues from Trp1/Tag transgenic mouse model by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT–PCR), western blot analysis, and immunohistofluorescence.
We found that mouse Dlg1, Scrib, and Lgl1 are widely distributed in normal ocular tissues, particularly in retinal neurons. We found that the three proteins are mislocalized in retinal layers during ocular carcinogenesis. These mislocalizations were correlated to the early dysplastic stages of ocular tumorigenesis. Additionally, the mislocalization of each protein was associated with its downregulation. Decreased levels of these proteins may be considered as late-stage markers of the disease but also as markers of the invasive stage of this cancerous process. This downregulation may be involved in epithelial-mesenchymal transition in this mouse ocular tumoral model. This would be consistent with the downregulation of E-cadherin and upregulation of N-cadherin expression observed in this model.
This is the first study to demonstrate the involvement of Dlg1, Scrib, and Lgl1 in a mouse with ocular adenocarcinoma and the simultaneous involvement of these proteins in the same cancer. Our results indicate that both the mislocalization and downregulation of these proteins may be involved together in ocular carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2605424  PMID: 19098995
4.  Analysis of partner of inscuteable (mPins) expression in the developing mouse eye 
Molecular Vision  2008;14:2575-2596.
Asymmetric cell division (ACD) is the fundamental mechanism underlying the generation of cellular diversity in invertebrates and vertebrates. During Drosophila neuroblast division, this process involves stabilization of the apical complex and interaction between the Inscuteable (Insc) and Partner of inscuteable (Pins) proteins. Both cell-intrinsic factors and cell–cell interactions seem to contribute to cell fate decisions in the retina. The Pins protein is known to play a major role in the asymmetric segregation of cell fate determinants during development of the central nervous system in general, but its role in asymmetric cell divisions and retinoblast cell fate has never been explored. The primary aim of this study was to determine the spatial distribution and time course of mouse homolog of Drosophila Partner of Inscuteable (mPins) expression in the developing and adult mouse eye.
The expression pattern of mPins was studied in the mouse eye from embryonic (E) stage E11.5 until adulthood, by semiquantitative RT–PCR, in situ hybridization, and immunohistochemistry. In addition, variations in mRNA and protein levels for mPins were analyzed in the developing postnatal and adult lens, by semiquantitative RT–PCR, western blot analysis, in situ hybridization, and immunohistochemistry.
We detected mPins mRNA at early stages of mouse embryonic eye development, particularly in the neuroblastic layer. In early postnatal development, mPins mRNA was still detected in the neuroblastic layer, but also began to be detectable in the ganglion cell layer. Thereafter, mPins mRNA was found throughout the retina. This pattern was maintained in differentiated adult retina. Immunohistochemical studies showed that mPins protein was present in the neuroblastic layer and the ganglion cell layer during the early stages of postnatal retinal development. At these stages, mPins protein was colocalized with Numb protein, a marker of the ACD. At later postnatal stages, mPins protein was present in all retinal nuclear layers and in the inner plexiform layer. It continued to be detected in these layers in the differentiated retina; the outer plexiform layer and the photoreceptor inner segments also began to display positive immunostaining for mPins. In the adult retina, mPins was also detected in the retinal pigment epithelium and choroidal melanocytes. Throughout development, mPins protein was detected in nonretinal tissues, including the cornea, ciliary body, and lens. We focused our attention on lens development and showed that mPins protein was first detected at E14.5. The most striking results obtained concerned the lens, in which mPins protein distribution switched from the anterior to the posterior region of the lens during embryonic development. Interestingly, in the postnatal and adult lens, mPins protein was detected in all lens cells and fibers.
We provide the first demonstration that mPins protein is expressed from embryonic stages until adulthood in the mouse eye. These results suggest that mPins plays important roles in eye development. This work provides preliminary evidence strongly supporting a role for mPins in the asymmetric division of retinoblasts, and in the structure and functions of adult mouse retina. However, the link between the presence of mPins in different ocular compartments and the possible occurrence of asymmetric cell divisions in these compartments remains to be clarified. Further studies are required to elucidate the in vitro and in vivo functions of mPins in the developing and adult human eye.
PMCID: PMC2613078  PMID: 19122831
5.  Contribution to carrier detection and genetic counselling in X linked retinoschisis. 
Journal of Medical Genetics  1991;28(6):383-388.
X linked retinoschisis (RS) is a vitreoretinal disease resulting from microcystic degeneration of the macula associated with peripheral lesions. The disease gene has already been assigned to the distal short arm of the X chromosome (Xp22.2) by linkage studies. In order to contribute both to a better localisation of the RS locus and to genetic counselling in RS families, we have carried out a clinical and genetic analysis in seven pedigrees. We show, first, that in contrast with previous reports, heterozygote carriers frequently express the disease, and display peripheral retinal alterations similar to those found in affected males. Second, while distal markers DXS16, DXS207, and DXS43 are closely linked to the disease locus, a high level of recombination events was found with centromeric markers, namely DXS274, DXS41, and DXS164. These findings must be taken into account for both carrier detection and prenatal diagnosis in X linked RS.
PMCID: PMC1016902  PMID: 1678432
6.  Stargardt's disease is not allelic to the genes for neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses. 
Journal of Medical Genetics  1994;31(3):222-223.
Stargardt's disease is an autosomal recessive condition characterised by a rapid and bilateral loss of central vision at around 7 to 12 years, with typical changes in the macular and perimacular region. It is one of the most frequent causes of macular degeneration in childhood and accounts for 7% of all retinal dystrophies. Considering that inclusions of lipofuscin-like substances are observed in retinal pigmentary cells of patients with Stargardt's disease on the one hand, and that the early symptoms of neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (CLN3) are suggestive of Stargardt's disease on the other hand (age of loss of visual acuity, appearance of the fundus), we decided to test allelism of Stargardt's disease with the infantile (CLN1) and juvenile forms of neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (CLN3), which map to chromosomes 1p32 and 16p12-p11 respectively. Using highly informative microsatellite DNA markers in eight multiplex families, we were able to exclude Stargardt's disease from the vicinity of the CLN1 and CLN3 loci. These results strongly reject the hypothesis of allelism of Stargardt's disease with the neuronal forms of ceroid lipofuscinosis.
PMCID: PMC1049747  PMID: 8014971
8.  Severe manifestations in carrier females in X linked retinitis pigmentosa. 
Journal of Medical Genetics  1997;34(10):793-797.
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of progressive hereditary disorders of the retina in which various modes of inheritance have been described. Here, we report on X linked RP in nine families with constant and severe expression in carrier females. In our series, however, the phenotype was milder and delayed in carrier females compared to hemizygous males. This form of X linked RP could be regarded therefore as partially dominant. The disease gene maps to chromosome Xp2.1 in the genetic interval encompassing the RP3 locus (Zmax=13.71 at the DXS1100 locus). Single strand conformation polymorphism and direct sequence analysis of the retinitis pigmentosa GTPase regulator (RPGR) gene, which accounts for RP3, failed to detect any mutation in our families. Future advances in the identification of X linked RP genes will hopefully help to elucidate the molecular basis of this X linked dominant RP.
PMCID: PMC1051083  PMID: 9350809
9.  Microspherophakia-metaphyseal dysplasia: a 'new' dominantly inherited bone dysplasia with severe eye involvement. 
Journal of Medical Genetics  1990;27(7):467-471.
We report a father and son affected by a hitherto unpublished bone dysplasia with moderately severe dwarfism. On initial radiographs, thickening of the diaphyses of the long bones was striking. The small bones of the extremities were almost unaffected. With age, the metaphyseal deformation became more prominent. The epiphyses became irregular and their growth was delayed (particularly the femoral heads). The femoral neck showed an unusual 'lip' on the inner edge. Later, the stubby appearance of the long bones faded and, in adulthood, only enlarged metaphyses and deformed femoral necks persisted. The vertebrae showed moderate deformation with irregular flattening, and narrowing of the spinal canal with a shortened interpedicular distance. The eye defects consisted of high grade myopia, microspherophakia, lens coloboma, lens luxation, and retinal detachment. The name 'microspherophakia-metaphyseal dysplasia' is suggested for this probably autosomal dominant bone dysplasia.
PMCID: PMC1017188  PMID: 2395168
10.  Inexplicable infantile cataracts and partial maternal galactose disorder 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  1986;61(5):445-448.
Previous reports have suggested that partial maternal deficiency of galactose metabolising enzymes, particularly of galactokinase activity, could contribute to the formation of cataracts during developmental life, even in a fetus that is enzymatically normal. We have assayed erythrocyte galactokinase and uridyltransferase activities in 12 families with children suffering early onset cataracts. We did not observe any abnormality of galactose metabolising enzymes in either the mothers or the infants. Furthermore, we have looked for the occurrence of cataracts among children of seven mothers heterozygous for one of these two deficiencies. No children with enzyme activity in the normal or heterozygous range had cataracts.
PMCID: PMC1777797  PMID: 3013103

Results 1-10 (10)