MiR-211 is essential for adult cone photoreceptor maintenance and visual function.

20 Apr 2018

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are key post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression that play an important role in the control of fundamental biological processes in both physiological and pathological conditions. Their function in retinal cells is just beginning to be elucidated, and a few have been found to play a role in photoreceptor maintenance and function. MiR-211 is one of the most abundant miRNAs in the developing and adult eye. However, its role in controlling vertebrate visual system development, maintenance and function so far remain incompletely unexplored. Here, by targeted inactivation in a mouse model, we identify a critical role of miR-211 in cone photoreceptor function and survival. MiR-211 knockout (-/-) mice exhibited a progressive cone dystrophy accompanied by significant alterations in visual function. Transcriptome analysis of the retina from miR-211-/- mice during cone degeneration revealed significant alteration of pathways related to cell metabolism. Collectively, this study highlights for the first time the impact of miR-211 function in the retina and significantly contributes to unravelling the role of specific miRNAs in cone photoreceptor function and survival.