• CIB2 regulates mTORC1 signaling and is essential for autophagy and visual function

      Sethna, Saumil; Scott, Patrick A; Giese, Arnaud P J; Duncan, Todd; Jian, Xiaoying; Riazuddin, Sheikh; Randazzo, Paul A; Redmond, T Michael; Bernstein, Steven L; Riazuddin, Saima; et al. (Springer Nature, 2021-06-23)
      Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a multifactorial neurodegenerative disorder. Although molecular mechanisms remain elusive, deficits in autophagy have been associated with AMD. Here we show that deficiency of calcium and integrin binding protein 2 (CIB2) in mice, leads to age-related pathologies, including sub-retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) deposits, marked accumulation of drusen markers APOE, C3, Aβ, and esterified cholesterol, and impaired visual function, which can be rescued using exogenous retinoids. Cib2 mutant mice exhibit reduced lysosomal capacity and autophagic clearance, and increased mTORC1 signaling-a negative regulator of autophagy. We observe concordant molecular deficits in dry-AMD RPE/choroid post-mortem human tissues. Mechanistically, CIB2 negatively regulates mTORC1 by preferentially binding to 'nucleotide empty' or inactive GDP-loaded Rheb. Upregulated mTORC1 signaling has been implicated in lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) cancer. Over-expressing CIB2 in LAM patient-derived fibroblasts downregulates hyperactive mTORC1 signaling. Thus, our findings have significant implications for treatment of AMD and other mTORC1 hyperactivity-associated disorders.
    • Proposed therapy, developed in a Pcdh15-deficient mouse, for progressive loss of vision in human Usher syndrome

      Sethna, Saumil; Zein, Wadih M; Riaz, Sehar; Giese, Arnaud Pj; Schultz, Julie M; Duncan, Todd; Hufnagel, Robert B; Brewer, Carmen C; Griffith, Andrew J; Redmond, T Michael; et al. (eLife Sciences Publications, 2021-11-09)
      Usher syndrome type I (USH1) is characterized by deafness, vestibular areflexia, and progressive retinal degeneration. The protein-truncating p.Arg245* founder variant of PCDH15 (USH1F) has an ~2% carrier frequency amongst Ashkenazi Jews accounts for ~60% of their USH1 cases. Here, longitudinal phenotyping in 13 USH1F individuals revealed progressive retinal degeneration, leading to severe vision loss with macular atrophy by the sixth decade. Half of the affected individuals were legally blind by their mid-50s. The mouse Pcdh15R250X variant is equivalent to human p.Arg245*. Homozygous Pcdh15R250X mice also have visual deficits and aberrant light-dependent translocation of the phototransduction cascade proteins, arrestin, and transducin. Retinal pigment epithelium (RPE)-specific retinoid cycle proteins, RPE65 and CRALBP, were also reduced in Pcdh15R250X mice, indicating a dual role for protocadherin-15 in photoreceptors and RPE. Exogenous 9-cis retinal improved ERG amplitudes in Pcdh15R250X mice, suggesting a basis for a clinical trial of FDA-approved retinoids to preserve vision in USH1F patients.