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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Ophthalmology

A 5-bp Insertion in Mip Causes Recessive Congenital Cataract in KFRS4/Kyo Rats
Published: Friday, November 30, 2012
Author: Kei Watanabe et al.

by Kei Watanabe, Kenta Wada, Tomoko Ohashi, Saki Okubo, Kensuke Takekuma, Ryoichi Hashizume, Jun-Ichi Hayashi, Tadao Serikawa, Takashi Kuramoto, Yoshiaki Kikkawa

We discovered a new cataract mutation, kfrs4, in the Kyoto Fancy Rat Stock (KFRS) background. Within 1 month of birth, all kfrs4/kfrs4 homozygotes developed cataracts, with severe opacity in the nuclei of the lens. In contrast, no opacity was observed in the kfrs4/+ heterozygotes. We continued to observe these rats until they reached 1 year of age and found that cataractogenesis did not occur in kfrs4/+ rats. To define the histological defects in the lenses of kfrs4 rats, sections of the eyes of these rats were prepared. Although the lenses of kfrs4/kfrs4 homozygotes showed severely disorganised fibres and vacuolation, the lenses of kfrs4/+ heterozygotes appeared normal and similar to those of wild-type rats. We used positional cloning to identify the kfrs4 mutation. The mutation was mapped to an approximately 9.7-Mb region on chromosome 7, which contains the Mip gene. This gene is responsible for a dominant form of cataract in humans and mice. Sequence analysis of the mutant-derived Mip gene identified a 5-bp insertion. This insertion is predicted to inactivate the MIP protein, as it produces a frameshift that results in the synthesis of 6 novel amino acid residues and a truncated protein that lacks 136 amino acids in the C-terminal region, and no MIP immunoreactivity was observed in the lens fibre cells of kfrs4/kfrs4 homozygous rats using an antibody that recognises the C- and N-terminus of MIP. In addition, the kfrs4/+ heterozygotes showed reduced expression of Mip mRNA and MIP protein and the kfrs4/kfrs4 homozygotes showed no expression in the lens. These results indicate that the kfrs4 mutation conveys a loss-of-function, which leads to functional inactivation though the degradation of Mip mRNA by an mRNA decay mechanism. Therefore, the kfrs4 rat represents the first characterised rat model with a recessive mutation in the Mip gene.
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