Leber Congenital Amaurosis type 4 (LCA4), caused by AIPL1 mutations, is characterised by severe sight impairment in infancy and rapidly progressive degeneration of photoreceptor cells. We generated retinal organoids using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from renal epithelial cells obtained from four children with AIPL1 nonsense mutations. iPSC-derived photoreceptors exhibited the molecular hallmarks of LCA4, including undetectable AIPL1 and rod cGMP phosphodiesterase (PDE6) compared to control or CRISPR corrected organoids. Moreover, increased levels of cGMP were detected. The translational readthrough inducing drug (TRID) PTC124 was investigated as a potential therapeutic. LCA4 retinal organoids exhibited rescue of AIPL1 and PDE6; however, the level of full-length, functional AIPL1 induced through PTC124 treatment was insufficient to reduce cGMP levels and fully rescue the LCA4 phenotype. LCA4 retinal organoids are a valuable platform for the in vitro investigation of the molecular mechanisms that drive photoreceptor loss and for the evaluation of novel therapeutics.

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