Human Corneal Expression of SLC4A11, a Gene Mutated in Endothelial Corneal Dystrophies.
ABSTRACT: Two blinding corneal dystrophies, pediatric-onset congenital hereditary endothelial dystrophy (CHED) and some cases of late-onset Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD), are caused by SLC4A11 mutations. Three N-terminal SLC4A11 variants: v1, v2 and v3 are expressed in humans. We set out to determine which of these transcripts and what translated products, are present in corneal endothelium as these would be most relevant for CHED and FECD studies. Reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) and quantitative RT-PCR revealed only v2 and v3 mRNA in human cornea, but v2 was most abundant. Immunoblots probed with variant-specific antibodies revealed that v2 protein is about four times more abundant than v3 in human corneal endothelium. Bioinformatics and protein analysis using variant-specific antibodies revealed that second methionine in the open reading frame (M36) acts as translation initiation site on SLC4A11 v2 in human cornea. The v2 variants starting at M1 (v2-M1) and M36 (v2-M36) were indistinguishable in their cell surface trafficking and transport function (water flux). Structural homology models of v2-M36 and v3 suggest structural differences but their significance remains unclear. A combination of bioinformatics, RNA quantification and isoform-specific antibodies allows us to conclude that SLC4A11 variant 2 with start site M36 is predominant in corneal endothelium.
Project description:Homozygous mutations in SLC4A11 cause 2 rare recessive conditions: congenital hereditary endothelial dystrophy (CHED), affecting the cornea alone, and Harboyan syndrome consisting of corneal dystrophy and sensorineural hearing loss. In addition, adult-onset Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) is associated with dominant mutations in SLC4A11. In this report, we investigate whether patients with CHED go on to develop hearing loss and whether their parents, who are carriers of an SLC4A11 mutation, show signs of having FECD.Patients with CHED were screened for mutations in the SLC4A11 gene and underwent audiometric testing. The patients and their parents underwent a clinical examination and specular microscopy.Molecular analyses confirmed SLC4A11 mutations in 4 affected individuals from 3 families. All the patients were found to have varying degrees of sensorineural hearing loss at a higher frequency range. Guttate lesions were seen in 2 of the 4 parents who were available for examination.Our observations suggest that CHED caused by homozygous SLC4A11 mutations progresses to Harboyan syndrome, but the severity of this may vary considerably. Patients with CHED should therefore be monitored for progressive hearing loss. We could not determine conclusively whether the parents of the patients with CHED were at increased risk of developing late-onset FECD.
Project description:The aim of this review was to provide an evidenced-based review of the genetic basis of the corneal endothelial dystrophies. A review of the English language peer-reviewed literature describing the molecular genetic basis of posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy (PPCD), congenital hereditary endothelial dystrophy (CHED), Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) and X-linked endothelial corneal dystrophy (XECD) was performed. Mutations in several genes have been implicated as playing a pathogenic role in the corneal endothelial dystrophies: VSX1 mutations in PPCD1; COL8A2 mutations in PPCD2 and FECD; ZEB1 mutations in PPCD3 and FECD; and SLC4A11 mutations in CHED2 and FECD. However, linkage, association and familial segregation analyses support a role of only one gene in each corneal endothelial dystrophy: ZEB1 in PPCD3, SLC4A11 in CHED2 and COL8A2 in FECD (early onset). In addition, insufficient evidence exists to consider the autosomal dominant form of CHED (CHED1) as distinct from PPCD. An accurate classification of the corneal endothelial dystrophies requires a critical review of the evidence to support the role of each suggested chromosomal locus, gene and genetic mutation associated with a corneal endothelial dystrophy. Only after the separation of evidence from opinion is performed can a critical examination of the molecular pathways that lead to endothelial dysfunction in each of these disorders be accurately performed.
Project description:Purpose:To elucidate the molecular events in solute carrier family 4 member 11 (SLC4A11)-deficient corneal endothelium that lead to the endothelial dysfunction that characterizes the dystrophies associated with SLC4A11 mutations, congenital hereditary endothelial dystrophy (CHED) and Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy 4. Methods:Comparative transcriptomic analysis (CTA) was performed in primary human corneal endothelial cells (pHCEnC) and murine corneal endothelial cells (MCEnC) with normal and reduced levels of SLC4A11 (SLC4A11 KD pHCEnC) and Slc4a11 (Slc4a11-/- MCEnC), respectively. Validation of differentially expressed genes was performed using immunofluorescence staining of CHED corneal endothelium, as well as western blot and quantitative PCR analysis of SLC4A11 KD pHCEnC and Slc4a11-/- MCEnC. Functional analyses were performed to investigate potential functional changes associated with the observed transcriptomic alterations. Results:CTA revealed inhibition of cell metabolism and ion transport function as well as mitochondrial dysfunction, leading to reduced adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production, in SLC4A11 KD pHCEnC and Slc4a11-/- MCEnC. Co-localization of SNARE protein STX17 with mitochondria marker COX4 was observed in CHED corneal endothelium, as was activation of AMPK-p53/ULK1 in both SLC4A11 KD pHCEnC and Slc4a11-/- MCEnC, providing additional evidence of mitochondrial dysfunction and mitophagy. Reduced Na+-dependent HCO3- transport activity and altered NH4Cl-induced membrane potential changes were observed in Slc4a11-/- MCEnC. Conclusions:Reduced steady-state ATP levels and subsequent activation of the AMPK-p53 pathway provide a link between the metabolic functional deficit and transcriptome alterations, as well as evidence of insufficient ATP to maintain the Na+/K+-ATPase corneal endothelial pump as the cause of the edema that characterizes SLC4A11-associated corneal endothelial dystrophies.
Project description:Corneal endothelial dystrophy is a progressive disease with gradual loss of vision and characterized by degeneration and dysfunction of corneal endothelial cells. Mutations in SLC4A11, a Na+ dependent OH- transporter, cause congenital hereditary endothelial dystrophy (CHED) and Fuchs' endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD), the two most common forms of endothelial degeneration. Along with genetic factors, oxidative stress plays a role in pathogenesis of several corneal diseases. In this study we looked into the role of SLC4A11 in antioxidant stress response in human corneal endothelial cells (HCEnC). We found increased expression of SLC4A11 in presence of oxidative stress. Depletion of SLC4A11 using targeted siRNA, caused an increase in reactive oxygen species, cytochrome c, lowered mitochondrial membrane potential, and reduced cell viability during oxidative stress. Moreover, SLC4A11 was found to be necessary for NRF2 mediated antioxidant gene expression in HCEnC. On the other hand, over expression of SLC4A11 reduces reactive oxygen species levels and increases cell viability. Lastly, CHED tissue specimens show evidence of oxidative stress and reduced expression of NRF2. In conclusion, our data suggests a possible role of SLC4A11 in regulating oxidative stress, and might be responsible for both the etiology and treatment of corneal endothelial dystrophy.
Project description:Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) is the most common late-onset, vision-threatening corneal dystrophy in the United States, affecting about 4% of the population. Advanced FECD involves a thickening of the cornea from stromal edema and changes in Descemet membrane. To understand the relationship between FECD and central corneal thickness (CCT), we characterized common genetic variation in COL8A2 and TCF4, genes previously implicated in CCT and/or FECD. Other genes previously associated with FECD (PITX2, ZEB1, SLC4A11), and genes only known to affect CCT (COL5A1, FOXO1, AVGR8, ZNF469) were also interrogated. FECD probands, relatives and controls were recruited from 32 clinical sites; a total of 532 cases and 204 controls were genotyped and tested for association of FECD case/control status, a 7-step FECD severity scale and CCT, adjusting for age and sex. Association of FECD grade with TCF4 was highly significant (OR=?6.01 at rs613872; p?=?4.8×10(-25)), and remained significant when adjusted for changes in CCT (OR=?4.84; p?=?2.2×10(-16)). Association of CCT with TCF4 was also significant (p?=?6.1×10(-7)), but was abolished with adjustment for FECD grade (p?=?0.92). After adjusting for FECD grade, markers in other genes examined were modestly associated (p ? 0.001) with FECD and/or CCT. Thus, common variants in TCF4 appear to influence FECD directly, and CCT secondarily via FECD. Additionally, changes in corneal thickness due to the effect of other loci may modify disease severity, age-at-onset, or other biomechanical characteristics.
Project description:Vps35 (vacuolar protein sorting 35) is a major component of retromer that selectively promotes endosome-to-Golgi retrieval of transmembrane proteins. Dysfunction of retromer is a risk factor for the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, Vps35/retromer's function in the eye or the contribution of Vps35-deficiency to eye degenerative disorders remains to be explored. Here we provide evidence for a critical role of Vps35 in mouse corneal dystrophy. Vps35 is expressed in mouse and human cornea. Mouse cornea from Vps35 heterozygotes (Vps35+/-) show features of dystrophy, such as loss of both endothelial and epithelial cell densities, disorganizations of endothelial, stroma, and epithelial cells, excrescences in the Descemet membrane, and corneal edema. Additionally, corneal epithelial cell proliferation was reduced in Vps35-deficient mice. Intriguingly, cell surface targeting of SLC4A11, a membrane transport protein (OH- /H+ /NH3 /H2O) of corneal endothelium, whose mutations have been identified in patients with corneal dystrophy, was impaired in Vps35-deficient cells and cornea. Taken together, these results suggest that SLC4A11 appears to be a Vps35/retromer cargo, and Vps35-regulation of SLC4A11 trafficking may underlie Vps35/retromer regulation of corneal dystrophy.
Project description:PURPOSE:To report the observation of a triple corneal dystrophy association consisting of keratoconus (KC), epithelial basement membrane corneal dystrophy (EBMCD) and Fuchs' endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD). METHODS:A 55-year-old male patient was referred to our cornea service for blurred vision and recurrent foreign body sensation. He reported bilateral recurrent corneal erosions with diurnal visual fluctuations. He underwent corneal biomicroscopy, Scheimpflug tomography, in vivo HRT confocal laser scanning microscopy and genetic testing for TGFBI and ZEB1 mutations using direct DNA sequencing. RESULTS:Biomicroscopic examination revealed the presence of subepithelial central and paracentral corneal opacities. The endothelium showed a bilateral flecked appearance, and the posterior corneal curvature suggested a possible concomitant ectatic disorder. Corneal tomography confirmed the presence of a stage II KC in both eyes. In vivo confocal laser scanning microscopy revealed a concomitant bilateral EBMCD with hyperreflective deposits in basal epithelial cells, subbasal Bowman's layer microfolds and ridges with truncated subbasal nerves as pseudodendritic elements. Stromal analysis revealed honeycomb edematous areas, and the endothelium showed a strawberry surface configuration typical of FECD. The genetic analysis resulted negative for TGFBI mutations and positive for a heterozygous mutation in exon 7 of the gene ZEB1. CONCLUSION:This is the first case reported in the literature in which KC, EBMCD and FECD are present in the same patient and associated with ZEB1 gene mutation. The triple association was previously established by means of morphological analysis of the cornea using corneal Scheimpflug tomography and in vivo HRT II confocal laser scanning microscopy.
Project description:Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) is a genetically heterogeneous disorder that has been primarily studied in patients of European or Asian ancestry. Given the sparse literature on African Americans with FECD, we sought to characterize the genetic variation in three known FECD candidate genes in African American patients with FECD.Over an 8-year period, we enrolled 47 African American probands with FECD. All participants were clinically examined with slit-lamp biomicroscopy, and when corneal tissue specimens were available, histopathologic confirmation of the clinical diagnosis was obtained. The coding regions of known FECD susceptibility genes collagen, type VIII, alpha 2 (COL8A2); solute carrier family 4, sodium borate transporter, member 11 (SLC4A11); and zinc finger E-box binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1 [also known as TCF8]) were Sanger sequenced in the 47 probands using DNA isolated from blood samples.Twenty-two coding variants were detected across the COL8A2, SLC4A11, and ZEB1 genes; six were nonsynonymous variants. Three novel coding variants were detected: a synonymous variant each in COL8A2 and SLC4A11 and one nonsynonymous variant in ZEB1 (p.P559S), which is predicted to be benign and tolerated, thus making its physiologic consequence uncertain.Variation in the COL8A2, SLC4A11, and ZEB1 genes is present in only a small fraction of our African American cases and as such does not appear to significantly contribute to the genetic risk of FECD in African Americans. This observation is on par with findings from previous sequencing studies involving European or Asian ancestry patients with FECD.
Project description:Homozygous mutations in the Borate Cotransporter SLC4A11 cause two early-onset corneal dystrophies: congenital hereditary endothelial dystrophy (CHED) and Harboyan syndrome. More recently, four sporadic patients with late-onset Fuchs corneal dystrophy (FCD), a common age-related disorder, were also reported to harbor heterozygous mutations at this locus. We therefore tested the hypothesis that SLC4A11 contributes to FCD and asked whether mutations in SLC4A11 are responsible for familial cases of late-onset FCD. We sequenced SLC4A11 in 192 sporadic and small nuclear late-onset FCD families and found seven heterozygous missense novel variations that were absent from ethnically matched controls. Familial data available for one of these mutations showed segregation under a dominant model in a three-generational family. In silico analyses suggested that most of these substitutions are intolerant, whereas biochemical studies of the mutant protein indicated that these alleles impact the localization and/or posttranslational modification of the protein. These results suggest that heterozygous mutations in SLC4A11 are modest contributors to the pathogenesis of adult FCD, suggesting a causality continuum between FCD and CHED. Taken together with a recent model between FCD and yet another early onset corneal dystrophy, PPCD, our data suggest a shared pathomechanism and genetic overlap across several corneal dystrophies.
Project description:SLC4A11, a member of the SLC4 family of bicarbonate transporters, is a widely expressed integral membrane protein, abundant in kidney and cornea. Mutations of SLC4A11 cause some cases of the blinding corneal dystrophies, congenital hereditary endothelial dystrophy, and Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy. These diseases are marked by fluid accumulation in the corneal stroma, secondary to defective fluid reabsorption by the corneal endothelium. The role of SLC4A11 in these corneal dystrophies is not firmly established, as SLC4A11 function remains unclear. To clarify the normal function(s) of SLC4A11, we characterized the protein following expression in the simple, low-background expression system Xenopus laevis oocytes. Since plant and fungal SLC4A11 orthologs transport borate, we measured cell swelling associated with accumulation of solute borate. The plant water/borate transporter NIP5;1 manifested borate transport, whereas human SLC4A11 did not. SLC4A11 supported osmotically driven water accumulation that was electroneutral and Na+ independent. Studies in oocytes and HEK293 cells could not detect Na+-coupled HCO3- transport or Cl-/HCO3- exchange by SLC4A11. SLC4A11 mediated electroneutral NH3 transport in oocytes. Voltage-dependent OH- or H+ movement was not measurable in SLC4A11-expressing oocytes, but SLC4A11-expressing HEK293 cells manifested low-level cytosolic acidification at baseline. In mammalian cells, but not oocytes, OH-/H+ conductance may arise when SLC4A11 activates another protein or itself is activated by another protein. These data argue against a role of human SLC4A11 in bicarbonate or borate transport. This work provides additional support for water and ammonia transport by SLC4A11. When expressed in oocytes, SLC4A11 transported NH3, not NH3/H.