Txnip deletions and missense alleles prolong the survival of cones in a retinitis pigmentosa mouse model

bioRxiv [Preprint]. 2024 Feb 7:2023.08.03.551766. doi: 10.1101/2023.08.03.551766.


Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a prevalent inherited retinal degenerative disease worldwide, affecting 1 in 4,000 people. The disease is characterized by an initial loss of night vision followed by a loss of daylight and color vision. Many of the RP disease genes are expressed in the rod photoreceptors, the cell type that initiates dim light vision. Following loss of rods, the cone photoreceptors, which initiate daylight vision, also are affected and can die leading to total loss of vision. The reasons for loss of cone vision are not entirely clear, but appear to be due to loss of the rods. Previously we showed that overexpressing Txnip, an α-arrestin protein, in mouse models of RP using AAV gene therapy prolonged the survival of RP cones (Xue et al., 2021). At least part of the mechanism for cone survival was a switch in the fuel source, from glucose to lactate. In addition, the mitochondria of cones were both morphologically and functionally improved by delivery of Txnip. We have gone on to test several alleles of Txnip for the ability to prolong cone survival in rd1, a mouse model of RP. In addition, proteins that bind to Txnip and/or have homology to Txnip were tested. Five different deletion alleles of Txnip were expressed in cones or the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE). Here we show that the C-terminal half of Txnip (149-397aa) is sufficient to remove GLUT1 from the RPE cell surface, and improved rd1 cone survival when expressed specifically in the RPE. Overexpressing Arrdc4, an α-arrestin that shares 60% similar protein sequence to Txnip, reduced rd1 cone survival. Reduction of the expression of HSP90AB1, a protein that interacts with Txnip and regulates metabolism, improved the survival of rd1 cones alone and was additive for cone survival when combined with Txnip. However, full length Txnip with a single amino acid change, C247S, as we tested in our original study, remains the most highly efficacious form of the gene for cone rescue. The above observations suggest that only a subset of the hypothesized and known activities of Txnip play a role in promoting RP cone survival, and that the activities of Txnip in the RPE differ from those in cone photoreceptors.

PMID:38370727 | PMC:PMC10871187 | DOI:10.1101/2023.08.03.551766