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A mutant wfs1 zebrafish model of Wolfram syndrome manifesting visual dysfunction and developmental delay

Cairns, G; Burté, F; Price, R; O'Connor, E; Toms, M; Mishra, R; Moosajee, M; ... Yu-Wai-Man, P; + view all (2021) A mutant wfs1 zebrafish model of Wolfram syndrome manifesting visual dysfunction and developmental delay. Scientific Reports , 11 , Article 20491. 10.1038/s41598-021-99781-0. Green open access

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Abstract

Wolfram syndrome (WS) is an ultra-rare progressive neurodegenerative disorder defined by early-onset diabetes mellitus and optic atrophy. The majority of patients harbour recessive mutations in the WFS1 gene, which encodes for Wolframin, a transmembrane endoplasmic reticulum protein. There is limited availability of human ocular and brain tissues, and there are few animal models for WS that replicate the neuropathology and clinical phenotype seen in this disorder. We, therefore, characterised two wfs1 zebrafish knockout models harbouring nonsense wfs1a and wfs1b mutations. Both homozygous mutant wfs1a−/− and wfs1b−/− embryos showed significant morphological abnormalities in early development. The wfs1b−/− zebrafish exhibited a more pronounced neurodegenerative phenotype with delayed neuronal development, progressive loss of retinal ganglion cells and clear evidence of visual dysfunction on functional testing. At 12 months of age, wfs1b−/− zebrafish had a significantly lower RGC density per 100 μm2 (mean ± standard deviation; 19 ± 1.7) compared with wild-type (WT) zebrafish (25 ± 2.3, p < 0.001). The optokinetic response for wfs1b−/− zebrafish was significantly reduced at 8 and 16 rpm testing speeds at both 4 and 12 months of age compared with WT zebrafish. An upregulation of the unfolded protein response was observed in mutant zebrafish indicative of increased endoplasmic reticulum stress. Mutant wfs1b−/− zebrafish exhibit some of the key features seen in patients with WS, providing a versatile and cost-effective in vivo model that can be used to further investigate the underlying pathophysiology of WS and potential therapeutic interventions.

Type: Article
Title: A mutant wfs1 zebrafish model of Wolfram syndrome manifesting visual dysfunction and developmental delay
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-99781-0
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-99781-0
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
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
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10137701
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