Nr2e3-directed transcriptional regulation of genes involved in photoreceptor development and cell-type specific phototransduction.
ABSTRACT: The retinal transcription factor Nr2e3 plays a key role in photoreceptor development and function. In this study we examine gene expression in the retina of Nr2e3(rd7/rd7) mutants with respect to wild-type control mice, to identify genes that are misregulated and hence potentially function in the Nr2e3 transcriptional network. Quantitative candidate gene real time PCR and subtractive hybridization approaches were used to identify transcripts that were misregulated in Nr2e3(rd7/rd7) mice. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays were then used to determine which of the misregulated transcripts were direct targets of NR2E3. We identified 24 potential targets of NR2E3. In the developing retina, NR2E3 targets transcription factors such as Ror1, Rorg, and the nuclear hormone receptors Nr1d1 and Nr2c1. In the mature retina NR2E3 targets several genes including the rod specific gene Gnb1 and cone specific genes blue opsin, and two of the cone transducin subunits, Gnat2 and Gnb3. In addition, we identified 5 novel transcripts that are targeted by NR2E3. While mislocalization of proteins between rods and cones was not observed, we did observe diminished concentration of GNB1 protein in adult Nr2e3(rd7/rd7) retinas. These studies identified novel transcriptional pathways that are potentially targeted by Nr2e3 in the retina and specifically demonstrate a novel role for NR2E3 in regulating genes involved in phototransduction.
Project description:The photoreceptor-specific nuclear receptor Nr2e3 is not expressed in Nr2e3<sup>rd7/rd7</sup> mice, a mouse model of the recessively inherited retinal degeneration enhanced S-cone sensitivity syndrome (ESCS). We characterized in detail C57BL/6J Nr2e3<sup>rd7/rd7</sup> mice in vivo by fundus photography, optical coherence tomography and fluorescein angiography and, post mortem, by histology and immunohistochemistry. White retinal spots and so-called 'rosettes' first appear at postnatal day (P) 12 in the dorsal retina and reach maximal expansion at P21. The highest density in 'rosettes' is observed within a region located between 100 and 350 µM from the optic nerve head. 'Rosettes' disappear between 9 to 12 months. Non-apoptotic cell death markers are detected during the slow photoreceptor degeneration, at a rate of an approximately 3% reduction of outer nuclear layer thickness per month, as observed from 7 to 31 months of age. In vivo analysis of Nr2e3<sup>rd7/rd7</sup> Cx3cr1<sup>gfp/+</sup> retinas identified microglial cells within 'rosettes' from P21 on. Subretinal macrophages were observed in vivo and by confocal microscopy earliest in 12-months-old Nr2e3<sup>rd7/rd7</sup> retinas. At P21, S-opsin expression and the number of S-opsin expressing dorsal cones was increased. The dorso-ventral M-cone gradient was present in Nr2e3<sup>rd7/rd7</sup> retinas, but M-opsin expression and M-opsin expressing cones were decreased. Retinal vasculature was normal.
Project description:To characterise new clinical features in a family with enhanced S-cone syndrome (ESCS) and investigate the pathogenesis of these clinical features in the homozygous Nr2e3(rd7) (rd7) mutant mice.Four patients from an affected family were included for genotypic and phenotypic study. Eye tissues from rd7 mice were used to detect a possible relationship between macrophages and autofluorescent material by immunohistochemistry (IHC) staining.Homozygous mutation in R311Q in NR2E3 was detected in this family. Colour photographs revealed that white dots do not correlate to hyperautofluorescent spots seen in autofluorescence imaging of the macula. OCT showed rosette-like lesions similar to those found in rd7 mice histology sections. From IHC analysis, we observed that F4/80 (a pan macrophage marker) and autofluorescence were colocalised to the same cells within the retina rosettes.The retinal structure of a young ESCS patient with homozygous R311Q mutation in the NR2E3 gene is similar to that seen in the rd7 mice. The macrophages were found to contain autofluorescent materials in the retinal rosettes of rd7 mice. These data are consistent with macrophage infiltration contributing to the hyperautofluorescent spots found in our patients.
Project description:Rod and cone photoreceptors subserve vision under dim and bright light conditions, respectively. The differences in their function are thought to stem from their different gene expression patterns, morphologies, and synaptic connectivities. In this study, we have examined the photoreceptor cells of the retinal degeneration 7(rd7) mutant mouse, a model for the human enhanced S-cone syndrome (ESCS). This mutant carries a spontaneous deletion in the mouse ortholog of NR2E3, an orphan nuclear receptor transcription factor mutated in ESCS. Employing microarray and in situ hybridization analysis we have found that the rd7 retina contains a modestly increased number of S-opsin-expressing cells that ultrastructurally appear to be normal cones. Strikingly, the majority of the photoreceptors in the rd7 retina represent a morphologically hybrid cell type that expresses both rod- and cone-specific genes. In addition, in situ hybridization screening of genes shown to be up-regulated in the rd7 mutant retina by microarray identified ten new cone-specific or cone-enriched genes with a wide range of biochemical functions, including two genes specifically involved in glucose/glycogen metabolism. We suggest that the abnormal electroretinograms, slow retinal degeneration, and retinal dysmorphology seen in humans with ESCS may, in part, be attributable to the aberrant function of a hybrid photoreceptor cell type similar to that identified in this study. The functional diversity of the novel cone-specific genes identified here indicates molecular differences between rods and cones extending far beyond those previously discovered.
Project description:The nuclear receptor NR2E3 promotes expression of rod photoreceptor genes while repressing cone genes. Mice lacking NR2E3 (Nr2e3(rd7/rd7) referred to here as rd7) are a model for enhanced S-cone syndrome, a disease associated with increased sensitivity to blue light and night blindness. Rd7 retinas have reduced levels of the outer segment (OS) structural protein retinal degeneration slow (RDS). We test the hypothesis that increasing RDS levels would improve the Rd7 phenotype. Transgenic mice over-expressing normal mouse peripherin/RDS (NMP) in rods and cones were crossed onto the rd7 background. Disease phenotypes were assessed in NMP/rd7 eyes and compared to wild-type (WT) and rd7 eyes at postnatal day 30. NMP/rd7 retinas expressed total RDS (transgenic and endogenous) message at WT levels, and NMP protein was correctly localized to the OS. NMP/rd7 retinas have shorter OSs compared to rd7 and WT and significantly reduced number of rosettes. NMP/rd7 mice also exhibited significant deficits in scotopic ERG amplitudes compared to rd7 while photopic amplitudes remained unaffected. Protein levels of rhodopsin, RDS, and the RDS homologue ROM-1 were significantly reduced in the NMP/rd7 retinas compared to rd7. We show that correcting the levels of RDS gene expression does not improve the phenotype of the rd7 suggesting that RDS deficiency is not responsible for the defect in this model. We suggest that the specific rod defect in the NMP/rd7 is likely associated with ongoing problems in the rd7 that are related to the expression of cone genes in rod cells, a characteristic of the model.
Project description:<i>NR2E3</i>-associated recessive disease in humans is historically defined by congenital night blinding retinopathy, characterized by an initial increase in short-wavelength (S)-cone sensitivity and progressive loss of rod and cone function. The retinal degeneration 7 (<i>rd7</i>) murine model, harboring a recessive mutation in the mouse ortholog of <i>NR2E3</i>, has been a well-studied disease model and recently evaluated as a therapeutic model for <i>NR2E3</i>-associated retinal degenerations. This study aims to draw parallels between human and mouse <i>NR2E3</i>-related disease through examination of spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) imaging between different stage of human disease and its murine counterpart. We propose that SD-OCT is a useful non-invasive diagnostic tool to compare human clinical dystrophy presentation with that of the <i>rd7</i> mouse and make inference that may be of therapeutically relevance. Additionally, a longitudinal assessment of <i>rd7</i> disease progression, utilizing available clinical data from our patients as well as extensive retrospective analysis of visual acuity data from published cases of human <i>NR2E3</i>-related disease, was curated to identify further valuable correlates between human and mouse <i>Nr2e3</i> disease. Results of this study validate the slow progression of <i>NR2E3</i>-associated disease in humans and the <i>rd7</i> mice and identify SD-OCT characteristics in patients at or near the vascular arcades that correlate well with the whorls and rosettes that are seen also in the <i>rd7</i> mouse and point to imaging features that appear to be associated with better preserved S-cone mediated retinal function. The correlation of histological findings between <i>rd7</i> mice and human imaging provides a solid foundation for diagnostic use of pathophysiological and prognostic information to further define characteristics and a relevant timeline for therapeutic intervention in the field of <i>NR2E3</i>-associated retinopathies.
Project description:Goldmann-Favre syndrome, also known as enhanced S-cone syndrome, is an inherited retinal degeneration disease in which a gain of photoreceptor cell types results in retinal dysplasia and degeneration. Although microglia have been implicated in the pathogenesis of many neurodegenerative diseases, the fundamental role of these cells in this disease is unknown. In the current study, sequential analyses suggest that microglia are recruited and appear after outer nuclear layer folding. By crossing rd7 mice (a model for hereditary retinal degeneration owing to Nr2e3 mutation) with mice carrying the macrophage Fas-induced apoptosis (Mafia) transgene, we generated double-mutant mice and studied the role of the resident retinal microglia. Microglial cells in these double-mutant mice express enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) and a suicide gene that can trigger Fas-mediated apoptosis via systemic treatment with AP20187 (FK506 dimerizer). We demonstrated that more than 80% of the EGFP+ cells in retinas from rd7/rd7;Tg/Tg mice express Iba-1 (a microglial marker), and resident microglia are still present in the retina because AP20187 does not cross the blood-brain barrier. Hence, only circulating bone marrow (BM)-derived microglia are depleted. Depletion of circulating BM-derived microglia accelerates retinal degeneration in rd7 mice. An increased number of autofluorescent (AF) spots is a consequence of resident microglia proliferation, which in turn establishes an inflammatory cytokine milieu via the upregulation of IL-1?, IL-6 and TNF? expression. This inflammation is likely to accelerate retinal degeneration. This study not only identifies inflammation as a crucial step in the pathogenesis of retinal degeneration, but also highlights the involvement of specific cytokine genes that could serve as future treatment targets in retinal degenerations.
Project description:Neural developmental programs require a high level of coordination between the decision to exit cell cycle and acquisition of cell fate. The Maf-family transcription factor NRL is essential for rod photoreceptor specification in the mammalian retina as its loss of function converts rod precursors to functional cones. Ectopic expression of NRL or a photoreceptor-specific orphan nuclear receptor NR2E3 completely suppresses cone development while concurrently directing the post-mitotic photoreceptor precursors towards rod cell fate. Given that NRL and NR2E3 have overlapping functions and NR2E3 expression is abolished in the Nrl(-/-) retina, we wanted to clarify the distinct roles of NRL and NR2E3 during retinal differentiation. Here, we demonstrate that NRL binds to a sequence element in the Nr2e3 promoter and enhances its activity synergistically with the homeodomain protein CRX. Using transgenic mice, we show that NRL can only partially suppress cone development in the absence of NR2E3. Gene profiling of retinas from transgenic mice that ectopically express NR2E3 or NRL in cone precursors reveals overlapping and unique targets of these two transcription factors. Together with previous reports, our findings establish the hierarchy of transcriptional regulators in determining rod versus cone cell fate in photoreceptor precursors during the development of mammalian retina.
Project description:Rod and cone photoreceptors in mammalian retina are generated from common pool(s) of neuroepithelial progenitors. NRL, CRX and NR2E3 are key transcriptional regulators that control photoreceptor differentiation. Mutations in NR2E3, a rod-specific orphan nuclear receptor, lead to loss of rods, increased density of S-cones, and supernormal S-cone-mediated vision in humans. To better understand its in vivo function, NR2E3 was expressed ectopically in the Nrl-/- retina, where post-mitotic precursors fated to be rods develop into functional S-cones similar to the human NR2E3 disease. Expression of NR2E3 in the Nrl-/- retina completely suppressed cone differentiation and resulted in morphologically rod-like photoreceptors, which were not functional. Gene profiling of FACS-purified photoreceptors confirmed the role of NR2E3 as a strong suppressor of cone genes and an activator of a subset of rod genes (including rhodopsin) in vivo. Ectopic expression of NR2E3 in cone precursors and differentiating S-cones of wild type retina also generates rod-like cells. The dual regulatory function of NR2E3 is not dependent upon the presence of NRL and/or CRX, but on the timing and level of its expression. Our studies reveal a critical role of NR2E3 in establishing functional specificity of post-mitotic photoreceptor precursors during retinal neurogenesis. Experiment Overall Design: We mated the Crx::Nr2e3/Nrlko mice with the Nrl::GFP transgenic mice, in which the expression of GFP is driven by an Nrl promoter. Mouse retinas were dissected at 4 wk. GFP+ photoreceptors were enriched by FACS (FACSAria, BD Biosciences, Franklin Lakes, NJ). RNA was extracted from 1~5x105 flow-sorted cells using Trizol (Invitrogen). Total RNA (40-60 ng) was used for linear amplification with Ovation Biotin labeling system (Nugen), and 2.75 ug of biotin-labeled fragmented cDNA was hybridized to mouse GeneChips MOE430.2.0 (Affymetrix) having 45,101 probesets (corresponding to over 39,000 transcripts, and 34,000 annotated mouse genes). Experiment Overall Design: Four independent samples were used at 4 weeks. We normalized Experiment Overall Design: Crx::Nr2e3/Nrl-ko-Gfp data along with Nrl-ko-Gfp 4 weeks samples ( 4 replicates, refer to Series submission GSE4051). The normalized data was then subjected to two stage analysis based on False Discovery Rate Confidence Interval (FDR-CI) for screening differentially expressed genes (24, 27) with a minimum fold change of 4.
Project description:NR2E3 encodes the photoreceptor-specific nuclear hormone receptor that acts as a repressor of cone-specific gene expression in rod photoreceptors, and as an activator of several rod-specific genes. Recessive variants located in the ligand-binding domain (LBD) of NR2E3 cause enhanced short wavelength sensitive- (S-) cone syndrome (ESCS), a retinal degeneration characterized by an excess of S-cones and non-functional rods. We analyzed the dimerization properties of NR2E3 and the effect of disease-causing LBD missense variants by bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET(2) ) protein interaction assays. Homodimerization was not affected in presence of p.A256V, p.R039G, p.R311Q, and p.R334G variants, but abolished in presence of p.L263P, p.L336P, p.L353V, p.R385P, and p.M407K variants. Homology modeling predicted structural changes induced by NR2E3 LBD variants. NR2E3 LBD variants did not affect interaction with CRX, but with NRL and rev-erb?/NR1D1. CRX and NRL heterodimerized more efficiently together, than did either with NR2E3. NR2E3 did not heterodimerize with TLX/NR2E1 and RXR?/NR2C1. The identification of a new compound heterozygous patient with detectable rod function, who expressed solely the p.A256V variant protein, suggests a correlation between LBD variants able to form functional NR2E3 dimers and atypical mild forms of ESCS with residual rod function.
Project description:Rod and cone photoreceptors in mammalian retina are generated from common pool(s) of neuroepithelial progenitors. NRL, CRX and NR2E3 are key transcriptional regulators that control photoreceptor differentiation. Mutations in NR2E3, a rod-specific orphan nuclear receptor, lead to loss of rods, increased density of S-cones and supernormal S-cone-mediated vision in humans. To better understand its in vivo function, NR2E3 was expressed ectopically in the Nrl-/- retina, where post-mitotic precursors fated to be rods develop into functional S-cones similar to the human NR2E3 disease. Expression of NR2E3 in the Nrl-/- retina completely suppressed cone differentiation and resulted in morphologically rod-like photoreceptors, which were however not functional. Gene profiling of FACS-purified photoreceptors confirmed the role of NR2E3 as a strong suppressor of cone genes but an activator of only a subset of rod genes (including rhodopsin) in vivo. Ectopic expression of NR2E3 in cone precursors and differentiating S-cones of wild-type retina also generated rod-like cells. The dual regulatory function of NR2E3 was not dependent upon the presence of NRL and/or CRX, but on the timing and level of its expression. Our studies reveal a critical role of NR2E3 in establishing functional specificity of NRL-expressing photoreceptor precursors during retinal neurogenesis.