Purpose: Previously, a 44 bp insertion in exon 2 of retinitis pigmentosa GTPase interacting protein 1 (RPGRIP1) was identified as the cause of cone-rod dystrophy 1 (cord1), a recessive form of progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) in the Miniature Longhaired Dachshund (MLHD), a dog model for Leber congenital amaurosis. The cord1 locus was mapped using MLHDs from an inbred colony with a homogeneous early onset disease phenotype. In this paper, the MLHD pet population was studied to investigate phenotypic variation and genotype-phenotype correlation. Further, the cord1 locus was fine-mapped using PRA cases from the MLHD pet population to narrow the critical region. Other dog breeds were also screened for the RGPRIP1 insertion.
Methods: This study examined phenotypic variation in an MLHD pet population that included 59 sporadic PRA cases and 18 members of an extended family with shared environment and having six PRA cases. Ophthalmologic evaluations included behavioral abnormalities, responses to menace and light, fundoscopy, and electroretinography (ERG). The RPGRIP1 insertion was screened for in all cases and 200 apparently normal control MLHDs and in 510 dogs from 66 other breed. To fine-map the cord1 locus in the MLHD, 74 PRA cases and 86 controls aged 4 years or more were genotyped for 24 polymorphic markers within the previously mapped cord1 critical region of 14.15 Mb.
Results: Among sporadic PRA cases from the MLHD pet population, the age of onset varied from 4 months to 15 years old; MLHDs from the extended family also showed variable onset and rate of progression. Screening for the insertion in RPGRIP1 identified substantial genotype-phenotype discordance: 16% of controls were homozygous for the insertion (RPGRIP1(-/-)), while 20% of PRA cases were not homozygous for it. Four other breeds were identified to carry the insertion including English Springer Spaniels and Beagles with insertion homozygotes. The former breed included both controls and PRA cases, yet in the latter breed, cone ERG was undetectable in two dogs with no clinically apparent visual dysfunction. Notably, the insertion in the Beagles was a longer variant of that seen in the other breeds. Fine-mapping of the cord1 locus narrowed the critical region on CFA15 from 14.15 Mb to 1.74 Mb which still contains the RPGRIP1 gene.
Conclusions: Extensive phenotypic variations of onset age and progression rate were observed in PRA cases of the MLHD pet population. The insertion in RPGRIP1 showed the strongest association with the disease, yet additional as well as alternative factors may account for the substantial genotype-phenotype discordance.