Gene profiling studies in postnatal Mfrprd6 mutant eyes reveal differential expression of Prss56, a trypsin-like serine protease, and genes involved in visual and phototransduction pathways.
ABSTRACT: Mutations in the membrane frizzled-related gene (Mfrp) are linked to posterior microphthalmia, retinitis pigmentosa and nanophthalmia in humans. In homozygous Mfrprd6 mice, a splice site mutation causes a slow photoreceptor degeneration characterized by shortening and disorganization of outer segments with eventual photoreceptor loss. To better understand the function of MFRP in the retina, microarray analysis was carried out in mutant and control mice at postnatal day14 (P14), prior to the loss of photoreceptors. Analysis of the data revealed differentially expressed RPE and neuroretina transcripts. Although the analysis of the microarray data from Mfrprd6 mutant mice compared to age-matched wild-type controls identified some transcripts with relative fold change > 5.0, most of the differentially expressed genes showed a relative fold change between1.5 - 2.0. Global gene expression analysis using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis software identified decreased levels of transcripts in phototransduction and visual pathways in Mfrprd6 mutants. Select candidate transcripts were validated by quantitative real-time PCR analyses. The expression of RPE-specific visual transduction protein, RPE65, was significantly decreased in Mfrprd6 mutants. As an indirect consequence of the primary RPE cell defect due to the Mfrprd6 mutation, retinal specific transcripts Rgr, Pde6a, GuCa1b, and Rgs9 were also significantly decreased. We also confirmed the significantly elevated levels of Prss56, a gene previously associated with myopia and open angle glaucoma. In the Mfrprd6 mutant, a progressive increase in Prss56 mRNA levels from 14- to 70-fold was observed from P7 to P21, respectively. In situ hybridization and glutamine synthetase staining of mutant eyes indirectly identified Müller glia in the inner nuclear layer of retina as the cell type expressing the Prss56 transcript. This experiment had one model term, a combination of strain and time, which consisted of four levels (B6_P0, B6_P14, Rd6_P0 and Rd6_P14). Three biological replicates were used per term level. A total of 12 Affymetrix Mouse 430v2 Arrays were used in gene expression analysis.
Project description:Mutations in the membrane frizzled-related protein (MFRP/Mfrp) gene, specifically expressed in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and ciliary body, cause nanophthalmia or posterior microphthalmia with retinitis pigmentosa in humans, and photoreceptor degeneration in mice. To better understand MFRP function, microarray analysis was performed on eyes of homozygous Mfrprd6 and C57BL/6J mice at postnatal days (P) 0 and P14, prior to photoreceptor loss. Data analysis revealed no changes at P0 but significant differences in RPE and retina-specific transcripts at P14, suggesting a postnatal influence of the Mfrprd6 allele. A subset of these transcripts was validated by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). In Mfrprd6 eyes, a significant 1.5- to 2.0-fold decrease was observed among transcripts of genes linked to retinal degeneration, including those involved in visual cycle (Rpe65, Lrat, Rgr), phototransduction (Pde6a, Guca1b, Rgs9), and photoreceptor disc morphogenesis (Rpgrip1 and Fscn2). Levels of RPE65 were significantly decreased by 2.0-fold. Transcripts of Prss56, a gene associated with angle-closure glaucoma, posterior microphthalmia and myopia, were increased in Mfrprd6 eyes by 17-fold. Validation by qRT-PCR indicated a 3.5-, 14- and 70-fold accumulation of Prss56 transcripts relative to controls at P7, P14 and P21, respectively. This trend was not observed in other RPE or photoreceptor mutant mouse models with similar disease progression, suggesting that Prss56 upregulation is a specific attribute of the disruption of Mfrp. Prss56 and Glul in situ hybridization directly identified Müller glia in the inner nuclear layer as the cell type expressing Prss56. In summary, the Mfrprd6 allele causes significant postnatal changes in transcript and protein levels in the retina and RPE. The link between Mfrp deficiency and Prss56 up-regulation, together with the genetic association of human MFRP or PRSS56 variants and ocular size, raises the possibility that these genes are part of a regulatory network influencing postnatal posterior eye development.
Project description:Previous studies identified in retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells an M-type K(+) current, which in many other cell types is mediated by channels encoded by KCNQ genes. The aim of this study was to assess the expression of KCNQ genes in the monkey RPE and neural retina. Application of the specific KCNQ channel blocker XE991 eliminated the M-type current in freshly isolated monkey RPE cells, indicating that KCNQ subunits contribute to the underlying channels. RT-PCR analysis revealed the expression of KCNQ1, KCNQ4, and KCNQ5 transcripts in the RPE and all five KCNQ transcripts in the neural retina. At the protein level, KCNQ5 was detected in the RPE, whereas both KCNQ4 and KCNQ5 were found in neural retina. In situ hybridization in frozen monkey retinal sections revealed KCNQ5 gene expression in the ganglion cell layer and the inner and outer nuclear layers of the neural retina, but results in the RPE were inconclusive due to the presence of melanin. Immunohistochemistry revealed KCNQ5 in the inner and outer plexiform layers, in cone and rod photoreceptor inner segments, and near the basal membrane of the RPE. The data suggest that KCNQ5 channels contribute to the RPE basal membrane K(+) conductance and, thus, likely play an important role in active K(+) absorption. The distribution of KCNQ5 in neural retina suggests that these channels may function in the shaping of the photoresponses of cone and rod photoreceptors and the processing of visual information by retinal neurons.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is an inherited retinal disease characterized by progressive loss of photoreceptor cells. This study aim at exploring the effect of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) derived from human-induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC-RPE) on the retina of retinal degeneration 10 (rd10) mice, which are characterized with progressive photoreceptor death. METHODS:We generated RPE from hiPSCs by sequential supplementation with retinal-inducing factors and RPE specification signaling factors. The three-dimensional (3D) spheroid culture method was used to obtain optimal injectable hiPSC-RPE cells. Subretinal space transplantation was conducted to deliver hiPSC-RPE cells into the retina of rd10 mice. Neurotrophic factor secretion from transplanted hiPSC-RPE cells was detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Immunostaining, Western blotting, electroretinography (ERG), and visual behavior testing were performed to determine the effects of hiPSC-RPE on the retinal visual function in rd10 mice. RESULTS:Our data demonstrated that hiPSC-RPE cells exhibited classic RPE properties and phenotype after the sequential RPE induction from hiPSCs. hiPSC-RPE cells co-cultured with mouse retinal explants or retinal ganglion cells 5 (RGC5) exhibited decreased apoptosis. The viability and functional properties of hiPSC-RPE cells were enhanced by 3D spheroid culture. Transplanted hiPSC-derived RPE cells were identified by immunostaining with human nuclear antigen staining in the retina of rd10 14?days after subretinal space injection. The pigment epithelium-derived factor level was increased significantly. The expression of CD68, microglial activation marker, reduced after transplantation. The light avoidance behavior and ERG visual function in rd10 mice improved by the transplantation of hiPSC-RPE cells. CONCLUSION:Our findings suggest that injectable hiPSC-RPE cells after 3D spheroid culture can rescue the structure and function of photoreceptors by sub-retinal transplantation, which lay the foundation for future clinical cell therapy to treat RP and other retinal degeneration diseases.
Project description:In retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), RPE65 catalyzes the isomerization of all-trans-retinyl fatty acid esters to 11-cis-retinol in the visual cycle and controls the rhodopsin regeneration rate. However, the mechanisms by which these processes are regulated are still unclear. Fatty Acid Transport Protein 1 (FATP1) is involved in fatty acid uptake and lipid metabolism in a variety of cell types. FATP1 co-localizes with RPE65 in RPE and inhibits its isomerase activity in vitro. Here, we further investigated the role of FATP1 in the visual cycle using transgenic mice that overexpress human FATP1 specifically in the RPE (hFATP1TG mice). The mice displayed no delay in the kinetics of regeneration of the visual chromophore 11-cis-retinal after photobleaching and had no defects in light sensitivity. However, the total retinoid content was higher in the hFATP1TG mice than in wild type mice, and the transgenic mice also displayed an age-related accumulation (up to 40%) of all-trans-retinal and retinyl esters that was not observed in control mice. Consistent with these results, hFATP1TG mice were more susceptible to light-induced photoreceptor degeneration. hFATP1 overexpression also induced an ~3.5-fold increase in retinosome autofluorescence, as measured by two-photon microscopy. Interestingly, hFATP1TG retina contained ~25% more photoreceptor cells and ~35% longer outer segments than wild type mice, revealing a non-cell-autonomous effect of hFATP1 expressed in the RPE. These data are the first to show that FATP1-mediated fatty acid uptake in the RPE controls both retinoid metabolism in the outer retina and photoreceptor development.
Project description:MSRA (EC 184.108.40.206) is a member of the methionine sulfoxide reductase family that can reduce methionine sulfoxide (MetO) in proteins. This repair function has been shown to protect cells against oxidative damage. In this study we have assembled the complete gene structure of msrA and identified the presence of two distinct putative promoters that generate three different transcripts. These transcripts were cloned by 5'RACE and code for three MSRA isoforms with different N-termini. The different forms of MSRA target to distinct intracellular regions. The main MSRA transcript (msrA1) had been previously shown to target the mitochondria. MsrA2 and 3 originate from a second promoter and target the cytosol and nuclei. In the monkey retina msrA message was detected mainly in the macular RPE-choroid region while its activity was measured mainly in the soluble fractions of fractionated neural retina and RPE-choroid. The MSRA protein is found throughout the retina but is especially abundant at the photoreceptor synapses, ganglion and Müller cells. Interestingly, MSRA was not detected in the mitochondria of the photoreceptor inner segments. The RPE in the peripheral retina shows very low levels of expression but the RPE in the macular region is strongly labeled. Targeted silencing of msrA message rendered cultured RPE cells more sensitive to oxidative damage suggesting a role for MSRA in RPE protection against oxidative stress. Collectively these data suggest MSRA may play an important role in protecting macular RPE from oxidative damage.
Project description:The visual (retinoid) cycle, the enzymatic pathway that regenerates chromophore after light absorption, is located primarily in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and is essential for rod photoreceptor survival. Whether this pathway also is essential for cone photoreceptor survival is unknown, and there are no data from man or monkey to address this question. The visual cycle is naturally disrupted in humans with Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), which is caused by mutations in RPE65, the gene that encodes the retinoid isomerase. We investigated such patients over a wide age range (3-52 years) for effects on the cone-rich human fovea. In vivo microscopy of the fovea showed that, even at the youngest ages, patients with RPE65-LCA exhibited cone photoreceptor loss. This loss was incomplete, however, and residual cone photoreceptor structure and function persisted for decades. Basic questions about localization of RPE65 and isomerase activity in the primate eye were addressed by examining normal macaque. RPE65 was definitively localized by immunocytochemistry to the central RPE and, by immunoblotting, appeared to concentrate in the central retina. The central retinal RPE layer also showed a 4-fold higher retinoid isomerase activity than more peripheral RPE. Early cone photoreceptor losses in RPE65-LCA suggest that robust RPE65-based visual chromophore production is important for cones; the residual retained cone structure and function support the speculation that alternative pathways are critical for cone photoreceptor survival.
Project description:The visual system produces visual chromophore, 11-cis-retinal from dietary vitamin A, all-trans-retinol making this vitamin essential for retinal health and function. These metabolic events are mediated by a sequential biochemical process called the visual cycle. Retinol dehydrogenases (RDHs) are responsible for two reactions in the visual cycle performed in retinal pigmented epithelial (RPE) cells, photoreceptor cells and Müller cells in the retina. RDHs in the RPE function as 11-cis-RDHs, which oxidize 11-cis-retinol to 11-cis-retinal in vivo. RDHs in rod photoreceptor cells in the retina work as all-trans-RDHs, which reduce all-trans-retinal to all-trans-retinol. Dysfunction of RDHs can cause inherited retinal diseases in humans. To facilitate further understanding of human diseases, mouse models of RDHs-related diseases have been carefully examined and have revealed the physiological contribution of specific RDHs to visual cycle function and overall retinal health. Herein we describe the function of RDHs in the RPE and the retina, particularly in rod photoreceptor cells, their regulatory properties for retinoid homeostasis and future therapeutic strategy for treatment of retinal diseases.
Project description:Enhanced S-cone syndrome (ESCS), featuring an excess number of S cones, manifests as a progressive retinal degeneration that leads to blindness. Here, through optical imaging, we identified an abnormal interface between photoreceptors and the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) in 9 patients with ESCS. The neural retina leucine zipper transcription factor-knockout (Nrl(-/-)) mouse model demonstrates many phenotypic features of human ESCS, including unstable S-cone-positive photoreceptors. Using massively parallel RNA sequencing, we identified 6203 differentially expressed transcripts between wild-type (Wt) and Nrl(-/-) mouse retinas, with 6 highly significant differentially expressed genes of the Pax, Notch, and Wnt canonical pathways. Changes were also obvious in expression of 30 genes involved in the visual cycle and 3 key genes in photoreceptor phagocytosis. Novel high-resolution (100 nm) imaging and reconstruction of Nrl(-/-) retinas revealed an abnormal packing of photoreceptors that contributed to buildup of photoreceptor deposits. Furthermore, lack of phagosomes in the RPE layer of Nrl(-/-) retina revealed impairment in phagocytosis. Cultured RPE cells from Wt and Nrl(-/-) mice illustrated that the phagocytotic defect was attributable to the aberrant interface between ESCS photoreceptors and the RPE. Overcoming the retinal phagocytosis defect could arrest the progressive degenerative component of this disease.
Project description:The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is a single layer of cells that supports the light-sensitive photoreceptor cells that are essential for retinal function. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of visual impairment, and the primary pathogenic mechanism is thought to arise in the RPE layer. RPE cell structure and function are well understood, the cells are readily sustainable in laboratory culture and, unlike other cell types within the retina, RPE cells do not require synaptic connections to perform their role. These factors, together with the relative ease of outer retinal imaging, make RPE cells an attractive target for cell transplantation compared with other cell types in the retina or central nervous system. Seminal experiments in rats with an inherited RPE dystrophy have demonstrated that RPE transplantation can prevent photoreceptor loss and maintain visual function. This review provides an update on the progress made so far on RPE transplantation in human eyes, outlines potential sources of donor cells, and describes the technical and surgical challenges faced by the transplanting surgeon. Recent advances in the understanding of pluripotent stem cells, combined with novel surgical instrumentation, hold considerable promise, and support the concept of RPE transplantation as a regenerative strategy in AMD.
Project description:Stargardt macular dystrophy 3 (STGD3) is caused by dominant mutations in the ELOVL4 gene. Like other macular degenerations, pathogenesis within the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) appears to contribute to the loss of photoreceptors from the central retina. However, the RPE does not express ELOVL4, suggesting photoreceptor cell loss in STGD3 occurs through two cell nonautonomous events: mutant photoreceptors first affect RPE cell pathogenesis, and then, second, RPE dysfunction leads to photoreceptor cell death. Here, we have investigated how the RPE pathology occurs, using a STGD3 mouse model in which mutant human ELOVL4 is expressed in the photoreceptors. We found that the mutant protein was aberrantly localized to the photoreceptor outer segment (POS), and that resulting POS phagosomes were degraded more slowly in the RPE. In cell culture, the mutant POSs are ingested by primary RPE cells normally, but the phagosomes are processed inefficiently, even by wild-type RPE. The mutant phagosomes excessively sequester RAB7A and dynein, and have impaired motility. We propose that the abnormal presence of ELOVL4 protein in POSs results in phagosomes that are defective in recruiting appropriate motor protein linkers, thus contributing to slower degradation because their altered motility results in slower basal migration and fewer productive encounters with endolysosomes. In the transgenic mouse retinas, the RPE accumulated abnormal-looking phagosomes and oxidative stress adducts; these pathological changes were followed by pathology in the neural retina. Our results indicate inefficient phagosome degradation as a key component of the first cell nonautonomous event underlying retinal degeneration due to mutant ELOVL4.