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Disrupting the Repeat Domain of Premelanosome Protein (PMEL) Produces Dysamyloidosis and Dystrophic Ocular Pigment Reflective of Pigmentary Glaucoma

Hodges, Elizabeth D; Chrystal, Paul W; Footz, Tim; Doucette, Lance P; Noel, Nicole CL; Li, Zixuan; Walter, Michael A; (2023) Disrupting the Repeat Domain of Premelanosome Protein (PMEL) Produces Dysamyloidosis and Dystrophic Ocular Pigment Reflective of Pigmentary Glaucoma. International Journal of Molecular Sciences , 24 (19) , Article 14423. 10.3390/ijms241914423. Green open access

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Abstract

Pigmentary glaucoma has recently been associated with missense mutations in PMEL that are dominantly inherited and enriched in the protein’s fascinating repeat domain. PMEL pathobiology is intriguing because PMEL forms functional amyloid in healthy eyes, and this PMEL amyloid acts to scaffold melanin deposition. This is an informative contradistinction to prominent neurodegenerative diseases where amyloid formation is neurotoxic and mutations cause a toxic gain of function called “amyloidosis”. Preclinical animal models have failed to model this PMEL “dysamyloidosis” pathomechanism and instead cause recessively inherited ocular pigment defects via PMEL loss of function; they have not addressed the consequences of disrupting PMEL’s repetitive region. Here, we use CRISPR to engineer a small in-frame mutation in the zebrafish homolog of PMEL that is predicted to subtly disrupt the protein’s repetitive region. Homozygous mutant larvae displayed pigmentation phenotypes and altered eye morphogenesis similar to presumptive null larvae. Heterozygous mutants had disrupted eye morphogenesis and disrupted pigment deposition in their retinal melanosomes. The deficits in the pigment deposition of these young adult fish were not accompanied by any detectable glaucomatous changes in intraocular pressure or retinal morphology. Overall, the data provide important in vivo validation that subtle PMEL mutations can cause a dominantly inherited pigment pathology that aligns with the inheritance of pigmentary glaucoma patient pedigrees. These in vivo observations help to resolve controversy regarding the necessity of PMEL’s repeat domain in pigmentation. The data foster an ongoing interest in an antithetical dysamyloidosis mechanism that, akin to the amyloidosis of devastating dementias, manifests as a slow progressive neurodegenerative disease.

Type: Article
Title: Disrupting the Repeat Domain of Premelanosome Protein (PMEL) Produces Dysamyloidosis and Dystrophic Ocular Pigment Reflective of Pigmentary Glaucoma
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3390/ijms241914423
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241914423
Language: English
Additional information: © 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Melanin; melanosome; prion-like; SILV; PMEL17; retina; pigment dispersion syndrome
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/10178197
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