Mouse Idh3a Mutations Cause Retinal Degeneration and Reduced Mitochondrial Function

Amy Findlay, Roderick N. Carter, Becky Starbuck, Lisa McKie, Klara Novakova, Peter S Budd, Margaret Keighren, Joseph A. Marsh, Sally Cross, Michelle Simon, Paul Potter, Nicholas M. Morton, Ian J. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) is an enzyme required for the production of α-ketoglutarate from isocitrate. IDH3 generates the NADH used in the mitochondria for ATP production, and is a tetramer made up of two α, a β and a γ subunit. Loss of function and missense mutations in both IDH3A andIDH3B have previously been implicated in families exhibiting retinal degeneration. Using mouse models we have investigated the role of IDH3 in retinal disease and mitochondrial function.

We identified mice with late-onset retinal degeneration in a screen of ageing mice carrying an ENU-induced mutation, E229K, in Idh3a. Mice homozygous for this mutation exhibit signs of retinal stress, indicated by GFAP staining, as early as 3 months, but no other tissues appear to be affected. We produced a knockout of Idh3a and found that homozygous mice do not survive past early embryogenesis. Idh3a−/E229K compound heterozygous mutants exhibit a more severe retinal degeneration when compared to Idh3aE229K/E229K. Analysis of mitochondrial function in mutant cell lines highlighted a reduction in mitochondrial maximal respiration and reserve capacity levels in both Idh3aE229K/E229K and Idh3a−/E229K cells. Loss-of function Idh3b mutants do not exhibit the same retinal degeneration phenotype, with no signs of retinal stress or reduction in mitochondrial respiration.

It has been previously reported that the retina operates with a limited mitochondrial reserve capacity and we suggest that this, in combination with the reduced reserve capacity in mutants, explains the degenerative phenotype observed in Idh3a mutant mice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDisease Models and Mechanisms
Early online date26 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


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