Inherited retinal diseases are a large group of genetically heterogeneous disorders, that when considered as a whole are the leading cause of blindness in the world. These diseases range to include disorders such as retinitis pigmentosa (RP) which affects one in every 1000 individuals, and macular degeneration, which affects 1 in 3 individuals over the age of 65. It is clear that the severity of disease is strongly influenced by genetic factors. Our long-term goal is to understand the transcriptional networks regulating photoreceptor generation and maintenance, in order to identify novel targets that may be amenable for improved treatment strategies for retinal disease. The PI was the first to report that mutations in human Nr2e3 cause the recessive ESCS, and mutations in mouse Nr2e3 cause excess production of blue opsin expressing cone cells with progressive retinal degeneration. Our previous studies and the work of others demonstrate a crucial role for the nuclear receptor Nr2e3 in multiple transcriptional networks to regulate the retinal development and function. Patients with Nr2e3 mutations show significant variability in severity of the disease phenotype. These phenotypic disparities underscore the significance of human modifier genes influencing retinal diseases. We hypothesize that Nr2e3 and its cofactor Nr1d1 are master regulators able to modulate the network of genes that influence retinal disease in many IRDs and thereby serve as potent modifiers of retinal degeneration. The goals of this study are to determine the efficacy and capacity of nuclear the receptors Nr2e3 and Nr1d1 in rescuing multiple forms of retinal disease. We will accomplish these goals using modern molecular genetic and genomic approaches. Specifically we will 1) determine the broad-spectrum efficacy of Nr2e3 and Nr1d1 to ameliorate photoreceptor degeneration in five distinct retinal degeneration models;and 2) develop an effective preclinical gene delivery method for Nr2e3 and Nr1d1;and 3) determine the mechanism by which Nr2e3 and Nr1d1 rescue retinal disease in multiple models of photoreceptor degeneration. Preliminary studies show that Nr2e3 and Nr1d1 can rescue two disparate models of retinal disease. These preclinical studies will provide valuable insight leading to clinical studies and the development of viable therapeutics to attenuate or prevent retinal degeneration.

Public Health Relevance

Retinal diseases are debilitating disorders that affect millions of individuals worldwide and often lead to complete blindness. In this study we will further evaluate genetic modifiers identified in the previous funding period for their capacity to ameliorate multiple retinal diseases, evaluate long term gene delivery effects, and determine the molecular mechanism by which photoreceptor rescue is achieved. The work proposed in this application are crucial preclinical studies that will provide novel data to advance the development of gene therapies for treatment of retinal degeneration.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
2R01EY017653-07A1
Application #
8773985
Study Section
(DPVS)
Program Officer
Neuhold, Lisa
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
7
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
Schepens Eye Research Institute
Department
Type
DUNS #
City
Boston
State
MA
Country
United States
Zip Code
02114
Cruz, Nelly M; Yuan, Yang; Leehy, Barrett D et al. (2014) Modifier genes as therapeutics: the nuclear hormone receptor Rev Erb alpha (Nr1d1) rescues Nr2e3 associated retinal disease. PLoS One 9:e87942
Jelcick, Austin S; Yuan, Yang; Leehy, Barrett D et al. (2011) Genetic variations strongly influence phenotypic outcome in the mouse retina. PLoS One 6:e21858
Mollema, Nissa J; Yuan, Yang; Jelcick, Austin S et al. (2011) Nuclear receptor Rev-erb alpha (Nr1d1) functions in concert with Nr2e3 to regulate transcriptional networks in the retina. PLoS One 6:e17494
Mollema, Nissa; Haider, Neena B (2010) Focus on molecules: nuclear hormone receptor Nr2e3: impact on retinal development and disease. Exp Eye Res 91:116-7