Increased H3K27 trimethylation contributes to cone survival in a mouse model of cone dystrophy

Annie Miller, Paula I. Fuller-Carter, Klaudija Masarini, Marijana Samardzija, Kim W. Carter, Rabab Rashwan, Alicia Brunet, Abha Chopra, Ramesh Ram, Christian Grimm, Marius Ueffing, Livia Carvalho, Dragana Trifunovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Inherited retinal diseases (IRDs) are a heterogeneous group of blinding disorders, which result in dysfunction or death of the light-sensing cone and rod photoreceptors. Despite individual IRDs being rare, collectively, they affect up to 1:2000 people worldwide, causing a significant socioeconomic burden, especially when cone-mediated central vision is affected. This study uses the Pde6ccpfl1 mouse model of achromatopsia, a cone-specific vision loss IRD, to investigate the potential gene-independent therapeutic benefits of a histone demethylase inhibitor GSK-J4 on cone cell survival. We investigated the effects of GSK-J4 treatment on cone cell survival in vivo and ex vivo and changes in cone-specific gene expression via single-cell RNA sequencing. A single intravitreal GSK-J4 injection led to transcriptional changes in pathways involved in mitochondrial dysfunction, endoplasmic reticulum stress, among other key epigenetic pathways, highlighting the complex interplay between methylation and acetylation in healthy and diseased cones. Furthermore, continuous administration of GSK-J4 in retinal explants increased cone survival. Our results suggest that IRD-affected cones respond positively to epigenetic modulation of histones, indicating the potential of this approach in the development of a broad class of novel therapies to slow cone degeneration.
Original languageEnglish
Article number409
Number of pages19
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


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