A QTL on distal chromosome 3 that influences the severity of light-induced damage to mouse photoreceptors

Mamm Genome. 2000 Jun;11(6):422-7. doi: 10.1007/s003350010081.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromosomes / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Light
  • Lod Score
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Photoreceptor Cells / pathology
  • Photoreceptor Cells / radiation effects*
  • Quantitative Trait, Heritable*
  • Retina / pathology
  • Retina / radiation effects