Document Type


Publication Date


JAX Source

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2018 Oct 1; 59(12):5127-5139





First Page


Last Page








Purpose: To determine the molecular basis of lesion development in a murine model of spontaneous retinal vascularization, rnv3 (retinal vascularization 3, aka JR5558).

Methods: Disease progression of rnv3 was examined in longitudinal studies by clinical evaluation, electroretinography (ERG) and light microscopy analyses. The chromosomal position for the recessive rnv3 mutation was determined by DNA pooling and genome-wide linkage analysis. The causative mutation was discovered by comparison of whole exome sequences of rnv3 mutant and wild-type (WT) controls. In order to confirm the causative mutation, transcription activator-like effector nuclease (TALEN)-mediated oligonucleotide directed repair (ODR) was utilized to correct the mutant allele. Phenotypic correction was assessed by fundus imaging and optical coherence tomography of live mice.

Results: rnv3 exhibits early-onset, multifocal depigmented retinal lesions observable by fundus examination starting at 18 days of age. The retinal lesions are associated with fluorescein leakage around 25 days of age, with peak leakage at about 4 weeks of age. ERG responses deteriorate as rnv3 mutants age, concomitant with progressive photoreceptor disruption and loss that is observable by histology. Genetic analysis localized rnv3 to mouse chromosome (Chr) 1. By high throughput sequencing of a whole exome capture library of a rnv3/rnv3 mutant and subsequent sequence analysis, a single base deletion (del) in the Crb1 [crumbs family member 1] gene, which was previously reported to cause retinal degeneration 8, was identified. The TALEN-mediated ODR rescued the posterior segment vascularization phenotype; heterozygous Crb1rd8+em1Boc/Crb1rd8 and homozygous Crb1rd8+em1Boc/Crb1rd8+em1Boc mice showed a normal retinal phenotype. Additionally, six novel disruptions of Crb1 that were generated through aberrant non-homologous end joining induced by TALEN exhibited variable levels of vascularization, suggesting allelic effects.

Conclusions: The rnv3 model and the models of six novel disruptions of Crb1 are all reliable, novel mouse models for the study of both early and late events associated with posterior segment vascularization and can also be used to test the effects of pharmacological targets for treating human ocular vascular disorders. Further study of these models may provide a greater understanding about how different Crb1 alleles result in aberrant angiogenesis.


The authors thank Mark P. Krebs and J¨urgen K. Naggert for the review of the manuscript.

This open access article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License