Choroideremia (CHM) is an X-linked chorioretinal dystrophy that is caused by mutations within a single gene, CHM. Currently no effective treatment exists for these patients. Since over 30% of patients harbour nonsense mutations in CHM, nonsense suppression therapy using translational readthrough inducing drugs may provide functional rescue of REP1, thus attenuating progressive sight loss. Here, we employed two CHM model systems to systematically test the efficacy and safety of ataluren (PTC124) and its novel analog PTC-414: (1) the chmru848zebrafish, the only nonsense mutation animal model of CHM harbouring a TAA nonsense mutation, and (2) a primary human fibroblast cell line from a CHM patient harbouring a TAG nonsense mutation. PTC124 or PTC-414 treatment of chmru848embryos led to a ∼2.0-fold increase in survival, prevented the onset of retinal degeneration with reduced oxidative stress and apoptosis, increased rep1 protein by 23.1% (PTC124) and 17.2% (PTC-414) and restored biochemical function as confirmed through in vitro prenylation assays (98 ± 2% [PTC124] and 68 ± 5% [PTC-414]). In CHMY42X/y fibroblasts, there was a recovery of prenylation activity following treatment with either PTC124 (42 ± 5%) or PTC-414 (36 ± 11%), although an increase in REP1 protein was not detected in these cells, in contrast to the zebrafish model. This comprehensive study on the use of PTC124 and PTC-414 as successful nonsense suppression agents for the treatment of CHM highlights the translational potential of these drugs for inherited retinal disease.

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