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  • Publication
    First implication of STRA6 mutations in isolated anophthalmia, microphthalmia and coloboma: a new dimension to the STRA6 phenotype
    Microphthalmia, anophthalmia, and coloboma (MAC) are structural congenital eye malformations that cause a significant proportion of childhood visual impairments. Several disease genes have been identified but do not account for all MAC cases, suggesting that additional risk loci exist. We used single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) homozygosity mapping (HM) and targeted next-generation sequencing to identify the causative mutation for autosomal recessive isolated colobomatous microanophthalmia (MCOPCB) in a consanguineous Irish Traveller family. We identified a double-nucleotide polymorphism (g.1157G>A and g.1156G>A; p.G304K) in STRA6 that was homozygous in all of the MCOPCB patients. The STRA6 p.G304K mutation was subsequently detected in additional MCOPCB patients, including one individual with Matthew-Wood syndrome (MWS; MCOPS9). STRA6 encodes a transmembrane receptor involved in vitamin A uptake, a process essential to eye development and growth. We have shown that the G304K mutant STRA6 protein is mislocalized and has severely reduced vitamin A uptake activity. Furthermore, we reproduced the MCOPCB phenotype in a zebrafish disease model by inhibiting retinoic acid (RA) synthesis, suggesting that diminished RA levels account for the eye malformations in STRA6 p.G304K patients. The current study demonstrates that STRA6 mutations can cause isolated eye malformations in addition to the congenital anomalies observed in MWS.
      190Scopus© Citations 56
  • Publication
    Genes and signaling networks regulated during zebrafish optic vesicle morphogenesis
    Background: The genetic cascades underpinning vertebrate early eye morphogenesis are poorly understood. One gene family essential for eye morphogenesis encodes the retinal homeobox (Rx) transcription factors. Mutations in the human retinal homeobox gene (RAX) can lead to gross morphological phenotypes ranging from microphthalmia to anophthalmia. Zebrafish rx3 null mutants produce a similar striking eyeless phenotype with an associated expanded forebrain. Thus, we used zebrafish rx3-/- mutants as a model to uncover an Rx3-regulated gene network during early eye morphogenesis. Results: Rx3-regulated genes were identified using whole transcriptomic sequencing (RNA-seq) of rx3-/- mutants and morphologically wild-type siblings during optic vesicle morphogenesis. A gene co-expression network was then constructed for the Rx3-regulated genes, identifying gene cross-talk during early eye development. Genes highly connected in the network are hub genes, which tend to exhibit higher expression changes between rx3-/- mutants and normal phenotype siblings. Hub genes down-regulated in rx3-/- mutants encompass homeodomain transcription factors and mediators of retinoid-signaling, both associated with eye development and known human eye disorders. In contrast, genes up-regulated in rx3-/- mutants are centered on Wnt signaling pathways, associated with brain development and disorders. The temporal expression pattern of Rx3-regulated genes was further profiled during early development from maternal stage until visual function is fully mature. Rx3-regulated genes exhibited synchronized expression patterns, and a transition of gene expression during the early segmentation stage when Rx3 was highly expressed. Furthermore, most of these deregulated genes are enriched with multiple RAX-binding motif sequences on the gene promoter. Conclusions: Here, we assembled a comprehensive model of Rx3-regulated genes during early eye morphogenesis. Rx3 promotes optic vesicle morphogenesis and represses brain development through a highly correlated and modulated network, exhibiting repression of genes mediating Wnt signaling and concomitant enhanced expression of homeodomain transcription factors and retinoid-signaling genes.
      262Scopus© Citations 15