C57BL/6J-c(2J) (c2J) albino mice showed much less damage to their photoreceptors after exposure to prolonged light than BALB/c mice and seven other albino strains tested. There were no gender differences, and preliminary studies suggested that the c2J relative protective effect was a complex trait. A genome-wide scan using dinucleotide repeat markers was carried out for the analysis of 194 progeny of the backcross (c2J x BALB/c)F(1) x c2J and the thickness of the outer nuclear layer (ONL) of the retina was the quantitative trait reflecting retinal damage. Our results revealed a strong and highly significant quantitative trait locus (QTL) on mouse Chromosome (Chr) 3 that contributes almost 50% of the c2J protective effect, and three other very weak but significant QTLs on Chrs 9, 12, and 14. Interestingly, the Chrs 9 and 12 QTLs corresponded to relative susceptibility alleles in c2J (or relative protection alleles in BALB/c), the opposite of the relative protective effect of the QTLs on Chrs 3 and 14. We mapped the Rpe65 gene to the apex of the Chr 3 QTL (LOD score = 19.3). Northern analysis showed no difference in retinal expression of Rpe65 message between c2J and BALB/c mice. However, sequencing of the Rpe65 message revealed a single base change in codon 450, predicting a methionine in c2J and a leucine in BALB/c. When the retinas of aging BALB/c and c2J mice reared in normal cyclic light were compared, the BALB/c retinas showed a small but significant loss of photoreceptor cells, while the c2J retinas did not. Finding light damage-modifying genes in the mouse may open avenues of study for understanding age-related macular degeneration and other retinal degenerations, since light exposures may contribute to the course of these diseases.
Pubmed ID: 10818205 RIS Download
Mesh terms: Aging | Animals | Base Sequence | Chromosomes | Female | Genotype | Light | Lod Score | Male | Mice | Mice, Inbred BALB C | Mice, Inbred C57BL | Microsatellite Repeats | Photoreceptor Cells | Quantitative Trait, Heritable | Retina
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