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Pathogenic NR2F1 variants cause a developmental ocular phenotype recapitulated in a mutant mouse model

Jurkute, N; Bertacchi, M; Arno, G; Tocco, C; Kim, US; Kruszewski, AM; Avery, RA; ... Yu-Wai-Man, P; + view all (2021) Pathogenic NR2F1 variants cause a developmental ocular phenotype recapitulated in a mutant mouse model. Brain Communications , 3 (3) , Article fcab162. 10.1093/braincomms/fcab162. Green open access

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Abstract

Pathogenic NR2F1 variants cause a rare autosomal dominant neurodevelopmental disorder referred to as the Bosch-Boonstra-Schaaf Optic Atrophy Syndrome. Although visual loss is a prominent feature seen in affected individuals, the molecular and cellular mechanisms contributing to visual impairment are still poorly characterized. We conducted a deep phenotyping study on a cohort of 22 individuals carrying pathogenic NR2F1 variants to document the neurodevelopmental and ophthalmological manifestations, in particular the structural and functional changes within the retina and the optic nerve, which have not been detailed previously. The visual impairment became apparent in early childhood with small and/or tilted hypoplastic optic nerves observed in 10 cases. High-resolution optical coherence tomography imaging confirmed significant loss of retinal ganglion cells with thinning of the ganglion cell layer, consistent with electrophysiological evidence of retinal ganglion cells dysfunction. Interestingly, for those individuals with available longitudinal ophthalmological data, there was no significant deterioration in visual function during the period of follow-up. Diffusion tensor imaging tractography studies showed defective connections and disorganization of the extracortical visual pathways. To further investigate how pathogenic NR2F1 variants impact on retinal and optic nerve development, we took advantage of an Nr2f1 mutant mouse disease model. Abnormal retinogenesis in early stages of development was observed in Nr2f1 mutant mice with decreased retinal ganglion cell density and disruption of retinal ganglion cell axonal guidance from the neural retina into the optic stalk, accounting for the development of optic nerve hypoplasia. The mutant mice showed significantly reduced visual acuity based on electrophysiological parameters with marked conduction delay and decreased amplitude of the recordings in the superficial layers of the visual cortex. The clinical observations in our study cohort, supported by the mouse data, suggest an early neurodevelopmental origin for the retinal and optic nerve head defects caused by NR2F1 pathogenic variants, resulting in congenital vision loss that seems to be non-progressive. We propose NR2F1 as a major gene that orchestrates early retinal and optic nerve head development, playing a key role in the maturation of the visual system.

Type: Article
Title: Pathogenic NR2F1 variants cause a developmental ocular phenotype recapitulated in a mutant mouse model
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/braincomms/fcab162
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/braincomms/fcab162
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: BBSOAS, NR2F1, inherited optic neuropathy, mouse model, optic nerve head anomalies
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Institute of Ophthalmology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Department of Neuromuscular Diseases
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10135851
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