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Cone dystrophies are genetic diseases characterized by loss of cone photoreceptor function and severe impairment of daylight vision. Loss of function is accompanied by a progressive degeneration of cones limiting potential therapeutic interventions. In this study we combined microarray-based gene-expression analysis with electroretinography and immunohistochemistry to characterize the pathological processes in the cone photoreceptor function loss 1 (cpfl1) mouse model. The cpfl1-mouse is a naturally arising mouse mutant with a loss-of-function mutation in the cone-specific Pde6c gene. Cpfl1-mice displayed normal rod-specific light responses while cone-specific responses were strongly diminished. Despite the lack of a general retinal degeneration, the cone-specific functional defect resulted in a marked activation of GFAP, a hallmark of Müller-cell gliosis. Microarray-based network-analysis confirmed activation of Müller-glia-specific transcripts. Unexpectedly, we found up-regulation of the cytokine LIF and the anti-apoptotic transcription factor STAT3 in cpfl1 cone photoreceptors. We postulate that STAT3-related pathways are induced in cpfl1 cone photoreceptors to counteract degeneration.

Original publication




Journal article


Cell Mol Life Sci

Publication Date





3173 - 3186


Animals, Gene Expression Regulation, Mice, Mice, Mutant Strains, Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis, Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells, Retinal Degeneration, STAT3 Transcription Factor