Nanophthalmos is characterised by shorter posterior and anterior segments of the eye, with a predisposition towards high hyperopia and primary angle-closure glaucoma. Variants in TMEM98 have been associated with autosomal dominant nanophthalmos in multiple kindreds, but definitive evidence for causation has been limited. Here we used CRISPR/Cas9 mutagenesis to recreate the human nanophthalmos-associated TMEM98 p.(Ala193Pro) variant in mice. The p.(Ala193Pro) variant was associated with ocular phenotypes in both mice and humans, with dominant inheritance in humans and recessive inheritance in mice. Unlike their human counterparts, p.(Ala193Pro) homozygous mutant mice had normal axial length, normal intraocular pressure, and structurally normal scleral collagen. However, in both homozygous mice and heterozygous humans, the p.(Ala193Pro) variant was associated with discrete white spots throughout the retinal fundus, with corresponding retinal folds on histology. This direct comparison of a TMEM98 variant in mouse and human suggests that certain nanophthalmos-associated phenotypes are not only a consequence of a smaller eye, but that TMEM98 may itself play a primary role in retinal and scleral structure and integrity.
- Genetic engineering