A role for prenylated rab acceptor 1 in vertebrate photoreceptor development.
ABSTRACT: The rd1 mouse retina is a well-studied model of retinal degeneration where rod photoreceptors undergo cell death beginning at postnatal day (P) 10 until P21. This period coincides with photoreceptor terminal differentiation in a normal retina. We have used the rd1 retina as a model to investigate early molecular defects in developing rod photoreceptors prior to the onset of degeneration.Using a microarray approach, we performed gene profiling comparing rd1 and wild type (wt) retinas at four time points starting at P2, prior to any obvious biochemical or morphological differences, and concluding at P8, prior to the initiation of cell death. Of the 143 identified differentially expressed genes, we focused on Rab acceptor 1 (Rabac1), which codes for the protein Prenylated rab acceptor 1 (PRA1) and plays an important role in vesicular trafficking. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis confirmed reduced expression of PRA1 in rd1 retina at all time points examined. Immunohistochemical observation showed that PRA1-like immunoreactivity (LIR) co-localized with the cis-Golgi marker GM-130 in the photoreceptor as the Golgi translocated from the perikarya to the inner segment during photoreceptor differentiation in wt retinas. Diffuse PRA1-LIR, distinct from the Golgi marker, was seen in the distal inner segment of wt photoreceptors starting at P8. Both plexiform layers contained PRA1 positive punctae independent of GM-130 staining during postnatal development. In the inner retina, PRA1-LIR also colocalized with the Golgi marker in the perinuclear region of most cells. A similar pattern was seen in the rd1 mouse inner retina. However, punctate and significantly reduced PRA1-LIR was present throughout the developing rd1 inner segment, consistent with delayed photoreceptor development and abnormalities in Golgi sorting and vesicular trafficking.We have identified genes that are differentially regulated in the rd1 retina at early time points, which may give insights into developmental defects that precede photoreceptor cell death. This is the first report of PRA1 expression in the retina. Our data support the hypothesis that PRA1 plays an important role in vesicular trafficking between the Golgi and cilia in differentiating and mature rod photoreceptors.
Project description:The rd1 mouse retina is a well-studied model of retinal degeneration where rod photoreceptors undergo cell death beginning at postnatal day P10 until P21. This period coincides with photoreceptor terminal differentiation in a normal retina. We have used the rd1 retina as a model to investigate early molecular defects in developing rod photoreceptors prior to the onset of degeneration. Using a microarray approach, we performed gene profiling comparing rd1 and wild type retinas at four time points starting at P2, prior to any obvious biochemical or morphological differences, and concluding at P8, prior to the initiation of cell death. We have identified genes that are differentially regulated in the rd1 retina at early time points, which may give insights into developmental defects that precede photoreceptor cell death. This is the first report of PRA1 expression in the retina. Our data support the hypothesis that PRA1 plays an important role in vesicular trafficking between the Golgi and cilia in differentiating and mature rod photoreceptors. Overall design: Retinal samples were harvested from both rd1/le and wt animals at postnatal days 2, 4, 6, and 8 for microarray. Each sample included 8-14 retinas and experiments were performed in quadruplicate. Ten micrograms of total RNA was used for cDNA systhesis in target molecule production.
Project description:The rd1 mouse retina is a well-studied model of retinal degeneration where rod photoreceptors undergo cell death beginning at postnatal day P10 until P21. This period coincides with photoreceptor terminal differentiation in a normal retina. We have used the rd1 retina as a model to investigate early molecular defects in developing rod photoreceptors prior to the onset of degeneration. Using a microarray approach, we performed gene profiling comparing rd1 and wild type retinas at four time points starting at P2, prior to any obvious biochemical or morphological differences, and concluding at P8, prior to the initiation of cell death. We have identified genes that are differentially regulated in the rd1 retina at early time points, which may give insights into developmental defects that precede photoreceptor cell death. This is the first report of PRA1 expression in the retina. Our data support the hypothesis that PRA1 plays an important role in vesicular trafficking between the Golgi and cilia in differentiating and mature rod photoreceptors. Retinal samples were harvested from both rd1/le and wt animals at postnatal days 2, 4, 6, and 8 for microarray. Each sample included 8-14 retinas and experiments were performed in quadruplicate. Ten micrograms of total RNA was used for cDNA systhesis in target molecule production.
Project description:The histone-deacetylase inhibitor activity of valproic acid (VPA) was discovered after VPA's adoption as an anticonvulsant. This generated speculation for VPA's potential to increase the expression of neuroprotective genes. Clinical trials for retinitis pigmentosa (RP) are currently active, testing VPA's potential to reduce photoreceptor loss; however, we lack information regarding the effects of VPA on available mammalian models of retinal degeneration, nor do we know if retinal gene expression is perturbed by VPA in a predictable way. Thus, we examined the effects of systemic VPA on neurotrophic factor and Nrl-related gene expression in the mouse retina and compared VPA's effects on the rate of photoreceptor loss in two strains of mice, Pde6b(rd1/rd1) and Pde6b(rd10/rd10) .The expression of Bdnf, Gdnf, Cntf, and Fgf2 was measured by quantitative PCR after single and multiple doses of VPA (intraperitoneal) in wild-type and Pde6b(rd1/rd1) mice. Pde6b(rd1/rd1) mice were treated with daily doses of VPA during the period of rapid photoreceptor loss. Pde6b(rd10/rd10) mice were also treated with systemic VPA to compare in a partial loss-of-function model. Retinal morphology was assessed by virtual microscopy or spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT). Full-field and focal electroretinography (ERG) analysis were employed with Pde6b(rd10/rd10) mice to measure retinal function.In wild-type postnatal mice, a single VPA dose increased the expression of Bdnf and Gdnf in the neural retina after 18 h, while the expression of Cntf was reduced by 70%. Daily dosing of wild-type mice from postnatal day P17 to P28 resulted in smaller increases in Bdnf and Gdnf expression, normal Cntf expression, and reduced Fgf2 expression (25%). Nrl gene expression was decreased by 50%, while Crx gene expression was not affected. Rod-specific expression of Mef2c and Nr2e3 was decreased substantially by VPA treatment, while Rhodopsin and Pde6b gene expression was normal at P28. Daily injections with VPA (P9-P21) dramatically slowed the loss of rod photoreceptors in Pde6b(rd1/rd1) mice. At age P21, VPA-treated mice had several extra rows of rod photoreceptor nuclei compared to PBS-injected littermates. Dosing started later (P14) or dosing every second day also rescued photoreceptors. In contrast, systemic VPA treatment of Pde6b(rd10/rd10) mice (P17-P28) reduced visual function that correlated with a slight increase in photoreceptor loss. Treating Pde6b(rd10/rd10) mice earlier (P9-P21) also failed to rescue photoreceptors. Treating wild-type mice earlier (P9-P21) reduced the number of photoreceptors in VPA-treated mice by 20% compared to PBS-treated animals.A single systemic dose of VPA can change retinal neurotrophic factor and rod-specific gene expression in the immature retina. Daily VPA treatment from P17 to P28 can also alter gene expression in the mature neural retina. While daily treatment with VPA could significantly reduce photoreceptor loss in the rd1 model, VPA treatment slightly accelerated photoreceptor loss in the rd10 model. The apparent rescue of photoreceptors in the rd1 model was not the result of producing more photoreceptors before degeneration. In fact, daily systemic VPA was toxic to wild-type photoreceptors when started at P9. However, the effective treatment period for Pde6b(rd1/rd1) mice (P9-P21) has significant overlap with the photoreceptor maturation period, which complicates the use of the rd1 model for testing of VPA's efficacy. In contrast, VPA treatment started after P17 did not cause photoreceptor loss in wild-type mice. Thus, the acceleration of photoreceptor loss in the rd10 model may be more relevant where both photoreceptor loss and VPA treatment (P17-P28) started when the central retina was mature.
Project description:Photoreceptors are one of the most energy-consuming cell types within the human body. To meet their high energy demand, photoreceptors possess a mitochondrial cluster in the inner segment of the cell. Interestingly, in several species, the inner segment of cone photoreceptors contains extremely large mitochondria that exceed 2?µm in diameter, called mega-mitochondria. We previously reported that pig retinas also contain mega-mitochondria, however, there are few reports whether mega-mitochondria are present in mammalian photoreceptors. In the present experiment, we analyzed pig, rabbit, and mouse photoreceptors under a scanning electron microscope (SEM), and compared the mitochondrial morphology. Our data showed that all three species present numerous mitochondrial clusters in the ellipsoid zone of photoreceptors, adjacent to the outer segment. In the pig retina, the inner segments of cone and rod photoreceptors were localized in different layers; consequently, we were able to distinguish them easily. Mega-mitochondria were identified only in the inner segment of cone photoreceptors. Also, mitochondria of cone photoreceptors, including mega-mitochondria, were dense cristae and high electron-densities compared to those of rod photoreceptors. In the rabbit retina, cone photoreceptors were existed within the layer of rod photoreceptor outer segment. The rod photoreceptors had a characteristic long outer segment. Cone photoreceptors had a short outer segment, and also had a thick inner segment compared to rod photoreceptors. Most of the mitochondria present in the rod photoreceptor inner segment were long and narrow, whereas mitochondria of cone photoreceptors were fragmented and short. Mega-mitochondria was not detected in rabbit retina. In the mouse retina, most of the photoreceptor cells were rod photoreceptors. Since the shape of the inner segments were very similar, we distinguished cone and rod photoreceptors based on the shape of the outer segments. Some mitochondria of both rod and cone photoreceptors were long and narrow, and there was no significant difference in mitochondrial morphology. Our data showed that mitochondrial morphology in the inner segment of photoreceptors vary among mammalian species. Although mega-mitochondria were present in pig photoreceptors, we could not observe their presence in rabbit nor mouse retinas. To our knowledge, this is a first experiment that perform the wide field observation of rabbit and mouse retina using electron microscopy, and that compare the mitochondrial morphology of photoreceptor cells in pig, rabbit and mouse.
Project description:Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a progressive hereditary retinal degenerative disease in which photoreceptor cells undergo degeneration and apoptosis, eventually resulting in irreversible loss of visual function. Currently, no effective treatment exists for this disease. Neuroprotection and inflammation suppression have been reported to delay the development of RP. Metformin is a well-tested drug used to treat type 2 diabetes, and it has been reported to exert beneficial effects in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. In the present study, we used immunofluorescence staining, electroretinogram (ERG) recordings and RNA-Seq to explore the effects of metformin on photoreceptor degeneration and its mechanism in rd1 mice. We found that metformin significantly reduced apoptosis in photoreceptors and delayed the degeneration of photoreceptors and rod bipolar cells in rd1 mice, thus markedly improving the visual function of rd1 mice at P14, P18, and P22 when tested with a light/dark transition test and ERG. Microglial activation in the outer nuclear layer (ONL) of the retina of rd1 mice was significantly suppressed by metformin. RNA-Seq showed that metformin markedly downregulated inflammatory genes and upregulated the expression of crystallin proteins, which have been demonstrated to be important neuroprotective molecules in the retina, revealing the therapeutic potential of metformin for RP treatment. ?A-crystallin proteins were further confirmed to be involved in the neuroprotective effects of metformin in a Ca2+ ionophore-damaged 661W photoreceptor-like cell line. These data suggest that metformin exerts a protective effect in rd1 mice via both immunoregulatory and new neuroprotective mechanisms.
Project description:Dynamin proteins are involved in vesicle generation, providing mechanical force to excise newly formed vesicles from membranes of cellular compartments. In the brain, dynamin-1, dynamin-2, and dynamin-3 have been well studied; however, their function in the retina remains elusive. A retina-specific splice variant of dynamin-1 interacts with the photoreceptor-specific protein Tubby-like protein 1 (Tulp1), which when mutated causes an early onset form of autosomal recessive retinitis pigmentosa. Here, we investigated the role of the dynamins in the retina, using immunohistochemistry to localize dynamin-1, dynamin-2, and dynamin-3 and immunoprecipitation followed by mass spectrometry to explore dynamin-1 interacting proteins in mouse retina. Dynamin-2 is primarily confined to the inner segment compartment of photoreceptors, suggesting a role in outer segment protein transport. Dynamin-3 is present in the terminals of photoreceptors and dendrites of second-order neurons but is most pronounced in the inner plexiform layer where second-order neurons relay signals from photoreceptors. Dynamin-1 appears to be the dominant isoform in the retina and is present throughout the retina and in multiple compartments of the photoreceptor cell. This suggests that it may function in multiple cellular pathways. Surprisingly, dynamin-1 expression and localization did not appear to be disrupted in tulp1?/? mice. Immunoprecipitation experiments reveal that dynamin-1 associates primarily with proteins involved in cytoskeletal-based membrane dynamics. This finding is confirmed by western blot analysis. Results further implicate dynamin-1 in vesicular protein transport processes relevant to synaptic and post-Golgi pathways and indicate a possible role in photoreceptor stability.
Project description:Detection of light in the eye contributes both to spatial awareness (form vision) and to responses that acclimate an animal to gross changes in light (irradiance detection). This dual role means that eye disease that disrupts form vision can also adversely affect physiology and behavioral state. The purpose of this study was to investigate how inner retinal circuitry mediating rod-cone photoreceptor input contributes to functionally distinct irradiance responses and whether that might account for phenotypic diversity in retinal disease.The sensitivity of the pupillary light reflex and negative masking (activity suppression by light) was measured in wild-type mice with intact inner retinal circuitry, Nob4 mice that lack ON-bipolar cell function, and rd1 mice that lack rods and cones and, therefore, have no input to ON or OFF bipolar cells.An expected increase in sensitivity to negative masking with loss of photoreceptor input in rd1 was duplicated in Nob4 mice. In contrast, sensitivity of the pupillary light reflex was more severely reduced in rd1 than in Nob4 mice.Absence of ON-bipolar cell-mediated rod-cone input can fully explain the phenotype of outer retina degeneration for negative masking but not for the pupillary light reflex. Therefore, inner retinal pathways mediating rod-cone input are different for negative masking and the pupillary light reflex.
Project description:Retinitis pigmentosa is a leading cause of inherited blindness, with no effective treatment currently available. Mutations primarily in genes expressed in rod photoreceptors lead to early rod death, followed by a slower phase of cone photoreceptor death. Rd1 mice provide an invaluable animal model to evaluate therapies for the disease. We previously reported that overexpression of histone deacetylase 4 (HDAC4) prolongs rod survival in rd1 mice. Here we report a key role of a short N-terminal domain of HDAC4 in photoreceptor protection. Expression of this domain suppresses multiple cell death pathways in photoreceptor degeneration, and preserves even more rd1 rods than the full-length HDAC4 protein. Expression of a short N-terminal domain of HDAC4 as a transgene in mice carrying the rd1 mutation also prolongs the survival of cone photoreceptors, and partially restores visual function. Our results may facilitate the design of a small protein therapy for some forms of retinitis pigmentosa.
Project description:Midkine is a heparin binding growth factor with important functions in neuronal development and survival, but little is known about its function in the retina. Previous studies show that in the developing zebrafish, Midkine-a (Mdka) regulates cell cycle kinetics in retinal progenitors, and following injury to the adult zebrafish retina, mdka is strongly upregulated in Müller glia and the injury-induced photoreceptor progenitors. Here we provide the first data describing Mdka protein localization during different stages of retinal development and during the regeneration of photoreceptors in adults. We also experimentally test the role of Mdka during photoreceptor regeneration. The immuno-localization of Mdka reflects the complex spatiotemporal pattern of gene expression and also reveals the apparent secretion and extracellular trafficking of this protein. During embryonic retinal development the Mdka antibodies label all mitotically active cells, but at the onset of neuronal differentiation, immunostaining is also localized to the nascent inner plexiform layer. Starting at five days post fertilization through the juvenile stage, Mdka immunostaining labels the cytoplasm of horizontal cells and the overlying somata of rod photoreceptors. Double immunolabeling shows that in adult horizontal cells, Mdka co-localizes with markers of the Golgi complex. Together, these data are interpreted to show that Mdka is synthesized in horizontal cells and secreted into the outer nuclear layer. In adults, Mdka is also present in the end feet of Müller glia. Similar to mdka gene expression, Mdka in horizontal cells is regulated by circadian rhythms. After the light-induced death of photoreceptors, Mdka immuonolabeling is localized to Müller glia, the intrinsic stem cells of the zebrafish retina, and proliferating photoreceptor progenitors. Knockdown of Mdka during photoreceptor regeneration results in less proliferation and diminished regeneration of rod photoreceptors. These data suggest that during photoreceptor regeneration Mdka regulates aspects of injury-induced cell proliferation.
Project description:Rod photoreceptor terminals respond to retinal injury with retraction and sprouting. Since the guidance cue Semaphorin3A (Sema3A) is observed in the retina after injury, we asked whether Sema3A contributes to structural plasticity in rod photoreceptors.We used Western blots and alkaline phosphatase (AP)-tagged neuropilin-1 (NPN-1) to detect the expression of Sema3A in an organotypic model of porcine retinal detachment. We then examined Sema3A binding to cultured salamander rod photoreceptors using AP-tagged Sema3A. For functional analysis, we used a microspritzer to apply a gradient of Sema3A-Fc to isolated salamander rod photoreceptors over 24 hours.Sema3A protein was biochemically detected in porcine retinal explants in the retina 7, 24, and 72 hours after detachment. In sections, NPN-1 receptor was bound to the inner and outer retina. For isolated rod photoreceptors, Sema3A localized to synaptic terminals and to neuritic processes after 1 week in vitro. In microspritzed rod photoreceptors, process initiation occurred away from high concentrations of Sema3A. Sema3A significantly decreased the number of processes formed by rod photoreceptors although the average length of processes was not affected. The cellular orientation of rod photoreceptors relative to the microspritzer also significantly changed over time; this effect was reduced with the Sema3A inhibitor, xanthofulvin.Sema3A is expressed in the retina after detachment, binds to rod photoreceptors, affects cell orientation, and reduces photoreceptor process initiation in vitro. Our results suggest that Sema3A contributes to axonal retraction in retinal injury, whereas rod neuritic sprouting and regenerative synaptogenesis may require a reduction in semaphorin signaling.