Functionally rodless mice: transgenic models for the investigation of cone function in retinal disease and therapy.
Two genetically engineered strains of mice were used to characterize murine cone function electroretinographically, without interference of rod-driven responses: (1) mice with a deletion of the gene for the rod transducin alpha-subunit (transducin alpha-/-), and (2) mice with rod arrestin deleted (arrestin -/-). In the first three months of age, both strains have a normal complement of rods and normal rod structure, but transducin alpha-/- mice have no rod-driven responses to light, while rod-driven activity of arrestin -/- mice can be suppressed by a single intense flash for hours. In response to intense flashes the electroretinograms of these strains of mice showed a readily identifiable, pure-cone a-wave of approximately 10 microV saturating amplitude. A 530 nm background that saturates rod responses of wild type mice was found to desensitize the b-wave responses of mice of both transgenic lines, whether the b-waves were driven by photons captured by M- or UV-cone pigments. The desensitizing effect of the 530 nm background on UV-pigment driven responses provides new evidence in support of the hypothesis of functional co-expression of the M-pigment in cones expressing primarily the UV-pigment.
Lyubarsky, AL; Lem, J; Chen, J; Falsini, B; Iannaccone, A; Pugh, EN
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