Investigations of photoreceptor synaptic transmission and light adaptation in the zebrafish visual mutant nrc

Van Epps, H.A., Yim, C.M., Hurley, J.B., and Brockerhoff, S.E.
Investigative ophthalmology & visual science   42(3): 868-874 (Journal)
Registered Authors
Brockerhoff, Susan, Hurley, James B., Van Epps, Heather
MeSH Terms
  • Adaptation, Ocular*/physiology*
  • Aminobutyrates/pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Electroretinography
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists/pharmacology
  • Nystagmus, Optokinetic/genetics*
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Vertebrate/drug effects
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Vertebrate/physiology*
  • Retina/abnormalities*
  • Selection, Genetic
  • Synaptic Transmission/drug effects
  • Synaptic Transmission/physiology*
  • Vision Disorders/genetics
  • Vision Disorders/physiopathology*
  • Zebrafish/genetics*
PURPOSE. To characterize the retinal physiology of the zebrafish visual mutant no optokinetic response c (nrc) and to identify the genetic map position of the nrc mutation. METHODS. Electroretinograms were recorded from wild-type and nrc zebrafish larvae between 5 to 6 days postfertilization. Responses to flash stimuli, On and Off responses to prolonged light stimuli, and responses to flash stimuli with constant background illumination were characterized. The glutamate agonist, 2-amino-4-phosphonobutyric acid (APB) was used to examine the photoreceptor specific a-wave component of the electroretinogram. Amplified fragment length polymorphism methodology was used to place the nrc mutation on the zebrafish genomic map. RESULTS. nrc and wild-type zebrafish larvae 5 to 6 days postfertilization have similar threshold responses to light, but the b-wave of the nrc electroretinogram is significantly delayed and reduced in amplitude. On and Off responses of nrc larvae to prolonged light have multiple oscillations that do not occur in normal zebrafish larvae after 5 days postfertilization. Analysis of the b-wave demonstrated a light adaptation defect in nrc that causes saturation at background light levels approximately 1 order of magnitude less than those with wild-type larvae. Application of the glutamate analog, APB, uncovered the photoreceptor component of the electroretinogram and revealed a light adaptation defect in nrc photoreceptors. The nrc mutation was placed approximately 0.2 cM from sequence length polymorphism marker Z7504 on linkage group 10. CONCLUSIONS. The zebrafish mutant nrc is a possible model for human retinal disease. nrc has defects in photoreceptor synaptic transmission and light adaptation. The nrc mutant phenotype shows striking similarities with phenotypes of dystrophin glycoprotein complex mutants, including patients with Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy. Localization of the nrc mutation now makes it possible to evaluate candidate genes and clone the nrc gene.
Genes / Markers
Mutations / Transgenics
Human Disease / Model
Sequence Targeting Reagents
Engineered Foreign Genes