A cyclic nucleotide-gated channel mutation associated with canine daylight blindness provides insight into a role for the S2 segment tri-Asp motif in channel biogenesis.
ABSTRACT: Cone cyclic nucleotide-gated channels are tetramers formed by CNGA3 and CNGB3 subunits; CNGA3 subunits function as homotetrameric channels but CNGB3 exhibits channel function only when co-expressed with CNGA3. An aspartatic acid (Asp) to asparagine (Asn) missense mutation at position 262 in the canine CNGB3 (D262N) subunit results in loss of cone function (daylight blindness), suggesting an important role for this aspartic acid residue in channel biogenesis and/or function. Asp 262 is located in a conserved region of the second transmembrane segment containing three Asp residues designated the Tri-Asp motif. This motif is conserved in all CNG channels. Here we examine mutations in canine CNGA3 homomeric channels using a combination of experimental and computational approaches. Mutations of these conserved Asp residues result in the absence of nucleotide-activated currents in heterologous expression. A fluorescent tag on CNGA3 shows mislocalization of mutant channels. Co-expressing CNGB3 Tri-Asp mutants with wild type CNGA3 results in some functional channels, however, their electrophysiological characterization matches the properties of homomeric CNGA3 channels. This failure to record heteromeric currents suggests that Asp/Asn mutations affect heteromeric subunit assembly. A homology model of S1-S6 of the CNGA3 channel was generated and relaxed in a membrane using molecular dynamics simulations. The model predicts that the Tri-Asp motif is involved in non-specific salt bridge pairings with positive residues of S3/S4. We propose that the D262N mutation in dogs with CNGB3-day blindness results in the loss of these inter-helical interactions altering the electrostatic equilibrium within in the S1-S4 bundle. Because residues analogous to Tri-Asp in the voltage-gated Shaker potassium channel family were implicated in monomer folding, we hypothesize that destabilizing these electrostatic interactions impairs the monomer folding state in D262N mutant CNG channels during biogenesis.
Project description:Cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) channels in retinal photoreceptors play a crucial role in vertebrate phototransduction. The ligand sensitivity of photoreceptor CNG channels is adjusted during adaptation and in response to paracrine signals, but the mechanisms involved in channel regulation are only partly understood. Heteromeric cone CNGA3 (A3) + CNGB3 (B3) channels are inhibited by membrane phosphoinositides (PIP(n)), including phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-triphosphate (PIP(3)) and phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP(2)), demonstrating a decrease in apparent affinity for cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). Unlike homomeric A1 or A2 channels, A3-only channels paradoxically did not show a decrease in apparent affinity for cGMP after PIP(n) application. However, PIP(n) induced an ?2.5-fold increase in cAMP efficacy for A3 channels. The PIP(n)-dependent change in cAMP efficacy was abolished by mutations in the C-terminal region (R643Q/R646Q) or by truncation distal to the cyclic nucleotide-binding domain (613X). In addition, A3-613X unmasked a threefold decrease in apparent cGMP affinity with PIP(n) application to homomeric channels, and this effect was dependent on conserved arginines within the N-terminal region of A3. Together, these results indicate that regulation of A3 subunits by phosphoinositides exhibits two separable components, which depend on structural elements within the N- and C-terminal regions, respectively. Furthermore, both N and C regulatory modules in A3 supported PIP(n) regulation of heteromeric A3+B3 channels. B3 subunits were not sufficient to confer PIP(n) sensitivity to heteromeric channels formed with PIP(n)-insensitive A subunits. Finally, channels formed by mixtures of PIP(n)-insensitive A3 subunits, having complementary mutations in N- and/or C-terminal regions, restored PIP(n) regulation, implying that intersubunit N-C interactions help control the phosphoinositide sensitivity of cone CNG channels.
Project description:Cone vision mediated by photoreceptor cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) channel activation is essential for central and color vision and visual acuity. Mutations in genes encoding the cone CNG channel subunits, CNGA3 and CNGB3, have been linked to various forms of achromatopsia and progressive cone dystrophy in humans. This study investigates the biochemical components of native cone CNG channels, using the cone-dominant retina in mice deficient in the transcription factor neural retina leucine zipper (Nrl). Abundant expression of CNGA3 and CNGB3 but no rod CNG channel expression was detected in Nrl-/- retina by western blotting and immunolabeling. Localization of cone CNG channel in both blue (S)- and red/green (M)-cones was shown by double immunolabeling using antibodies against the channel subunits and against the S- and M-opsins. Immunolabeling also showed co-localization of CNGA3 and CNGB3 in the mouse retina. Co-immunoprecipitation demonstrated the direct interaction between CNGA3 and CNGB3. Chemical cross-linking readily generated products at sizes consistent with oligomers of the channel complexes ranging from dimeric to tetrameric complexes, in a concentration- and time-dependent pattern. Thus this work provides the first biochemical evidence showing the inter-subunit interaction between CNGA3 and CNGB3 and the presence of heterotetrameric complexes of the native cone CNG channel in retina. No association between CNGA3 and the cone Na(+)/Ca(2+)-K(+) exchanger (NCKX2) was shown by co-immunoprecipitation and chemical cross-linking. This may implicate a distinct modulatory mechanism for Ca(2+) homeostasis in cones compared to rods.
Project description:Cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) channels play a pivotal role in phototransduction. Mutations in the cone CNG channel subunits CNGA3 and CNGB3 account for >70% of all known cases of achromatopsia. Cones degenerate in achromatopsia patients and in CNGA3(-/-) and CNGB3(-/-) mice. This work investigates the molecular basis of cone degeneration in CNG channel deficiency. As cones comprise only 2-3% of the total photoreceptor population in the wild-type mouse retina, we generated mouse lines with CNG channel deficiency on a cone-dominant background, i.e. CNGA3(-/-)/Nrl(-/-) and CNGB3(-/-)/Nrl(-/-) mice. The retinal phenotype and potential cell death pathways were examined by functional, biochemical, and immunohistochemical approaches. CNGA3(-/-)/Nrl(-/-) and CNGB3(-/-)/Nrl(-/-) mice showed impaired cone function, opsin mislocalization, and cone degeneration similar to that in the single knock-out mice. The endoplasmic reticulum stress marker proteins, including Grp78/Bip, phospho-eIF2?, phospho-IP(3)R, and CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein homologous protein, were elevated significantly in CNGA3(-/-)/Nrl(-/-) and CNGB3(-/-)/Nrl(-/-) retinas, compared with the age-matched (postnatal 30 days) Nrl(-/-) controls. Along with these, up-regulation of the cysteine protease calpains and cleavage of caspase-12 and caspase-7 were found in the channel-deficient retinas, suggesting an endoplasmic reticulum stress-associated apoptosis. In addition, we observed a nuclear translocation of apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) and endonuclease G in CNGA3(-/-)/Nrl(-/-) and CNGB3(-/-)/Nrl(-/-) retinas, implying a mitochondrial insult in the endoplasmic reticulum stress-activated cell death process. Taken together, our findings suggest a crucial role of endoplasmic reticulum stress in cone degeneration associated with CNG channel deficiency.
Project description:Cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) ion channels are key mediators underlying signal transduction in retinal and olfactory receptors. Genetic defects in CNGA3 and CNGB3, encoding two structurally related subunits of cone CNG channels, lead to achromatopsia (ACHM). ACHM is a congenital, autosomal recessive retinal disorder that manifests by cone photoreceptor dysfunction, severely reduced visual acuity, impaired or complete color blindness and photophobia. Here, we report the first canine models for CNGA3-associated channelopathy caused by R424W or V644del mutations in the canine CNGA3 ortholog that accurately mimic the clinical and molecular features of human CNGA3-associated ACHM. These two spontaneous mutations exposed CNGA3 residues essential for the preservation of channel function and biogenesis. The CNGA3-R424W results in complete loss of cone function in vivo and channel activity confirmed by in vitro electrophysiology. Structural modeling and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations revealed R424-E306 salt bridge formation and its disruption with the R424W mutant. Reversal of charges in a CNGA3-R424E-E306R double mutant channel rescued cGMP-activated currents uncovering new insights into channel gating. The CNGA3-V644del affects the C-terminal leucine zipper (CLZ) domain destabilizing intersubunit interactions of the coiled-coil complex in the MD simulations; the in vitro experiments showed incompetent trimeric CNGA3 subunit assembly consistent with abnormal biogenesis of in vivo channels. These newly characterized large animal models not only provide a valuable system for studying cone-specific CNG channel function in health and disease, but also represent prime candidates for proof-of-concept studies of CNGA3 gene replacement therapy for ACHM patients.
Project description:The cone photoreceptor cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) channel is essential for central and color vision and visual acuity. Mutations in the channel subunits CNGA3 and CNGB3 are associated with achromatopsia and cone dystrophy. We investigated the gene expression profiles in mouse retina with CNG channel deficiency on a cone-dominant background, i.e., CNGA3-/-/Nrl-/- and CNGB3-/-/Nrl-/- mice, relative to Nrl-/- mice. Total RNA was isolated from 2 retinas per animal (CNGA3-/-/Nrl-/-, CNGB3-/-/Nrl-/-, and Nrl-/- mice). The background strain for these mutations was C57bl/6.
Project description:The cone photoreceptor cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) channel is essential for central and color vision and visual acuity. Mutations in the channel subunits CNGA3 and CNGB3 are associated with achromatopsia and cone dystrophy. We investigated the gene expression profiles in mouse retina with CNG channel deficiency using whole genome expression microarrays. As cones comprise only 2 to 3% of the total photoreceptor population in the wild-type mouse retina, the mouse lines with CNG channel deficiency on a cone-dominant background, i.e. Cnga3-/-/Nrl-/- and Cngb3-/-/Nrl-/- mice, were used in our study. Comparative data analysis revealed a total of 105 genes altered in Cnga3-/-/Nrl-/- and 92 in Cngb3-/-/Nrl-/- retinas, relative to Nrl-/- retinas, with 27 genes changed in both genotypes. The differentially expressed genes primarily encode proteins associated with cell signaling, cellular function maintenance and gene expression. Ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA) identified 26 and 9 canonical pathways in Cnga3-/-/Nrl-/- and Cngb3-/-/Nrl-/- retinas, respectively, with 6 pathways being shared. The shared pathways include phototransduction, cAMP/PKA-mediated signaling, endothelin signaling, and EIF2/endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, whereas the IL-1, CREB, and purine metabolism signaling were found to specifically associate with Cnga3 deficiency. Thus, CNG channel deficiency differentially regulates genes that affect cell processes such as phototransduction, cellular survival and gene expression, and such regulations play a crucial role(s) in the retinal adaptation to impaired cone phototransduction. Though lack of Cnga3 and Cngb3 shares many common pathways, deficiency of Cnga3 causes more significant alterations in gene expression. This work provides insights into how cones respond to impaired phototransduction at the gene expression levels.
Project description:The cone cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) channel is essential for central and color vision and visual acuity. This channel is composed of two structurally related subunits, CNGA3 and CNGB3; CNGA3 is the ion-conducting subunit, whereas CNGB3 is a modulatory subunit. Mutations in both subunits are associated with achromatopsia and progressive cone dystrophy, with mutations in CNGB3 alone accounting for 50% of all known cases of achromatopsia. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying cone diseases that result from CNGB3 deficiency are unknown. This study investigated the role of CNGB3 in cones, using CNGB3(-/-) mice. Cone dysfunction was apparent at the earliest time point examined (post-natal day 30) in CNGB3(-/-) mice. When compared with wild-type (WT) controls: photopic electroretingraphic (ERG) responses were decreased by approximately 75%, whereas scotopic ERG responses were unchanged; visual acuity was decreased by approximately 20%, whereas contrast sensitivity was unchanged; cone density was reduced by approximately 40%; photoreceptor apoptosis was detected; and outer segment disorganization was observed in some cones. Notably, CNGA3 protein and mRNA levels were significantly decreased in CNGB3(-/-) mice; in contrast, mRNA levels of S-opsin, Gnat2 and Pde6c were unchanged, relative to WT mice. Hence, we show that loss of CNGB3 reduces biosynthesis of CNGA3 and impairs cone CNG channel function. We suggest that down-regulation of CNGA3 contributes to the pathogenic mechanism by which CNGB3 mutations lead to human cone disease.
Project description:Cyclic-nucleotide gated (CNG) channels are essential for phototransduction within retinal photoreceptors. We have demonstrated previously that the enzymatic activity of matrix metalloproteinase-2 and -9, members of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family of extracellular, Ca(2+)- and Zn(2+)-dependent proteases, enhances the ligand sensitivity of both rod (CNGA1 and CNGB1) and cone (CNGA3 and CNGB3) CNG channels. Additionally, we have observed a decrease in the maximal CNG channel current (Imax) that begins late during MMP-directed gating changes. Here we demonstrate that CNG channels become nonconductive after prolonged MMP exposure. Concurrent with the loss of conductive channels is the increased relative contribution of channels exhibiting nonmodified gating properties, suggesting the presence of a subpopulation of channels that are protected from MMP-induced gating effects. CNGA subunits are known to possess one extracellular core glycosylation site, located at one of two possible positions within the turret loop near the pore-forming region. Our results indicate that CNGA glycosylation can impede MMP-dependent modification of CNG channels. Furthermore, the relative position of the glycosylation site within the pore turret influences the extent of MMP-dependent proteolysis. Glycosylation at the site found in CNGA3 subunits was found to be protective, while glycosylation at the bovine CNGA1 site was not. Relocating the glycosylation site in CNGA1 to the position found in CNGA3 recapitulated CNGA3-like protection from MMP-dependent processing. Taken together, these data indicate that CNGA glycosylation may protect CNG channels from MMP-dependent proteolysis, consistent with MMP modification of channel function having a requirement for physical access to the extracellular face of the channel.
Project description:Mutations in the genes encoding the CNGA3 and CNGB3 subunits of the cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) channel of cone photoreceptors have been associated with autosomal recessive achromatopsia. Here we analyze the molecular basis of achromatopsia in two siblings with residual cone function. Psychophysical and electroretinographic analyses show that the light sensitivity of the cone system is lowered, and the signal transfer from cones to secondary neurons is perturbed. Both siblings carry two mutant CNGA3 alleles that give rise to channel subunits with different single-amino acid substitutions. Heterologous expression revealed that only one mutant forms functional channels, albeit with grossly altered properties, including changes in Ca2+ blockage and permeation. Surprisingly, coexpression of this mutant subunit with CNGB3 rescues the channel phenotype, except for the Ca2+ interaction. We argue that these alterations are responsible for the perturbations in light sensitivity and synaptic transmission.
Project description:Molecular determinants of ion channel tetramerization are well characterized, but those involved in heteromeric channel assembly are less clearly understood. The heteromeric composition of native channels is often precisely controlled. Cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) channels from rod photoreceptors exhibit a 3:1 stoichiometry of CNGA1 and CNGB1 subunits that tunes the channels for their specialized role in phototransduction. Here we show, using electrophysiology, fluorescence, biochemistry, and X-ray crystallography, that the mechanism for this controlled assembly is the formation of a parallel 3-helix coiled-coil domain of the carboxy-terminal leucine zipper region of CNGA1 subunits, constraining the channel to contain three CNGA1 subunits, followed by preferential incorporation of a single CNGB1 subunit. Deletion of the carboxy-terminal leucine zipper domain relaxed the constraint and permitted multiple CNGB1 subunits in the channel. The X-ray crystal structures of the parallel 3-helix coiled-coil domains of CNGA1 and CNGA3 subunits were similar, suggesting that a similar mechanism controls the stoichiometry of cone CNG channels.