Development of a translatable gene augmentation therapy for CNGB1-retinitis pigmentosa

Mol Ther. 2023 Jul 5;31(7):2028-2041. doi: 10.1016/j.ymthe.2023.04.005. Epub 2023 Apr 13.


In this study, we investigate a gene augmentation therapy candidate for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa (RP) due to cyclic nucleotide-gated channel beta 1 (CNGB1) mutations. We use an adeno-associated virus serotype 5 with transgene under control of a novel short human rhodopsin promoter. The promoter/capsid combination drives efficient expression of a reporter gene (AAV5-RHO-eGFP) exclusively in rod photoreceptors in primate, dog, and mouse following subretinal delivery. The therapeutic vector (AAV5-RHO-CNGB1) delivered to the subretinal space of CNGB1 mutant dogs restores rod-mediated retinal function (electroretinographic responses and vision) for at least 12 months post treatment. Immunohistochemistry shows human CNGB1 is expressed in rod photoreceptors in the treated regions as well as restoration of expression and trafficking of the endogenous alpha subunit of the rod CNG channel required for normal channel formation. The treatment reverses abnormal accumulation of the second messenger, cyclic guanosine monophosphate, which occurs in rod photoreceptors of CNGB1 mutant dogs, confirming formation of a functional CNG channel. In vivo imaging shows long-term preservation of retinal structure. In conclusion, this study establishes the long-term efficacy of subretinal delivery of AAV5-RHO-CNGB1 to rescue the disease phenotype in a canine model of CNGB1-RP, confirming its suitability for future clinical development.

Keywords: CNGB1; adeno-associated virus; dog; electroretinography; gene therapy; nonhuman primate; perifoveal chorioretinal atrophy; retinitis pigmentosa; short rhodopsin promoter; spectral domain optical coherence tomography.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Cation Channels / genetics
  • Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Cation Channels / metabolism
  • Dogs
  • Electroretinography
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Parvovirinae*
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa* / genetics
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa* / metabolism
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa* / therapy
  • Rhodopsin / metabolism


  • Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Cation Channels
  • Rhodopsin
  • CNGB1 protein, human

Supplementary concepts

  • Adeno-associated virus-5