The identification of genetic defects that underlie inherited retinal diseases (IRDs) paves the way for the development of therapeutic strategies. Nonsense mutations caused approximately 12% of all IRD cases, resulting in a premature termination codon (PTC). Therefore, an approach that targets nonsense mutations could be a promising pharmacogenetic strategy for the treatment of IRDs. Small molecules (translational read-through inducing drugs; TRIDs) have the potential to mediate the read-through of nonsense mutations by inducing expression of the full-length protein. We provide novel data on the read-through efficacy of Ataluren on a nonsense mutation in the Usher syndrome gene USH2A that causes deaf-blindness in humans. We demonstrate Ataluren´s efficacy in both transiently USH2AG3142*-transfected HEK293T cells and patient-derived fibroblasts by restoring USH2A protein expression. Furthermore, we observed enhanced ciliogenesis in patient-derived fibroblasts after treatment with TRIDs, thereby restoring a phenotype that is similar to that found in healthy donors. In light of recent findings, we validated Ataluren´s efficacy to induce read-through on a nonsense mutation in USH2A-related IRD. In line with published data, our findings support the use of patient-derived fibroblasts as a platform for the validation of preclinical therapies. The excellent biocompatibility combined with sustained read-through efficacy makes Ataluren an ideal TRID for treating nonsense mutations based IRDs.
Keywords: Ataluren; Retinitis pigmentosa; TRID; Usher syndrome; ocular therapy; patient-derived fibroblasts; translational read-through.