Mutations in BCOR, a co-repressor of CRX/OTX2, are associated with early-onset retinal degeneration

Maéva Langouët, Christine Jolicoeur, Awais Javed, Pierre Mattar, Micah D Gearhart, Stephen P Daiger, Mette Bertelsen, Lisbeth Tranebjærg, Nanna D Rendtorff, Karen Grønskov, Catherine Jespersgaard, Rui Chen, Zixi Sun, Hui Li, Najmeh Alirezaie, Jacek Majewski, Vivian J Bardwell, Ruifang Sui, Robert K Koenekoop, Michel Cayouette

Abstract

Many transcription factors regulating the production, survival, and function of photoreceptor cells have been identified, but little is known about transcriptional co-regulators in retinal health and disease. Here, we show that BCL6 co-repressor (BCOR), a Polycomb repressive complex 1 factor mutated in various cancers, is involved in photoreceptor degenerative diseases. Using proteomics and transcription assays, we report that BCOR interacts with the transcription factors CRX and OTX2 and reduces their ability to activate the promoters of photoreceptor-specific genes. CUT&RUN sequencing further shows that BCOR shares genome-wide binding profiles with CRX/OTX2, consistent with a general co-repression activity. We also identify missense mutations in human BCOR in five families that have no evidence of cancer but present severe early-onset X-linked retinal degeneration. Last, we show that the human BCOR mutants cause degeneration when expressed in the mouse retina and have enhanced repressive activity on OTX2. These results uncover a role for BCOR in photoreceptors in both health and disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereabh2868
JournalScience Advances
Volume8
Issue number36
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sep 2022

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