Mutations in the RP1 gene can cause retinitis pigmentosa. We identified a spontaneous L66P mutation caused by two adjacent point mutations in the Rp1 gene in a colony of C57BL/6J mice. Mice homozygous for the L66P mutation exhibited slow, progressive photoreceptor degeneration throughout their lifespan. Optical coherence tomography imaging found abnormal photoreceptor reflectivity at 1 month of age. Histology found shortening and disorganization of the photoreceptor inner and outer segments and progressive thinning of the outer nuclear layer. Electroretinogram a- and b-wave amplitudes were decreased with age. Western blot analysis found that the quantity and size of the mutated retinitis pigmentosa 1 (RP1) protein were normal. However, immunohistochemistry found that the mutant Rp1 protein partially mislocalized to the transition zone of the shortened axonemes. This mutation disrupted colocalization with cytoplasmic microtubules in vitro. In conclusion, the L66P mutation in the first doublecortin domain of the Rp1 gene impairs Rp1 protein localization and function, leading to abnormalities in photoreceptor outer segment structure and progressive photoreceptor degeneration. This is the first missense mutation in Rp1 shown to cause retinal degeneration. It provides a unique, slowly progressive photoreceptor degeneration model that mirrors the slow degeneration kinetics in most patients with retinitis pigmentosa.
Copyright © 2014 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.