Broadband activation by white-opsin lowers intensity threshold for cellular stimulation.
ABSTRACT: Photoreceptors, which initiate the conversion of ambient light to action potentials via retinal circuitry, degenerate in retinal diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa and age related macular degeneration leading to loss of vision. Current prosthetic devices using arrays consisting of electrodes or LEDs (for optogenetic activation of conventional narrow-band opsins) have limited spatial resolution and can cause damage to retinal circuits by mechanical or photochemical (by absorption of intense narrow band light) means. Here, we describe a broad-band light activatable white-opsin for generating significant photocurrent at white light intensity levels close to ambient daylight conditions. White-opsin produced an order of magnitude higher photocurrent in response to white light as compared to narrow-band opsin channelrhodopsin-2, while maintaining the ms-channel kinetics. High fidelity of peak-photocurrent (both amplitude and latency) of white-opsin in response to repetitive white light stimulation of varying pulse width was observed. The significantly lower intensity stimulation required for activating white-opsin sensitized cells may facilitate ambient white light-based restoration of vision for patients with widespread photoreceptor degeneration.
Project description:Currently, the use of optogenetic sensitization of retinal cells combined with activation/inhibition has the potential to be an alternative to retinal implants that would require electrodes inside every single neuron for high visual resolution. However, clinical translation of optogenetic activation for restoration of vision suffers from the drawback that the narrow spectral sensitivity of an opsin requires active stimulation by a blue laser or a light emitting diode with much higher intensities than ambient light. In order to allow an ambient light-based stimulation paradigm, we report the development of a 'white-opsin' that has broad spectral excitability in the visible spectrum. The cells sensitized with white-opsin showed excitability at an order of magnitude higher with white light compared to using only narrow-band light components. Further, cells sensitized with white-opsin produced a photocurrent that was five times higher than Channelrhodopsin-2 under similar photo-excitation conditions. The use of fast white-opsin may allow opsin-sensitized neurons in a degenerated retina to exhibit a higher sensitivity to ambient white light. This property, therefore, significantly lowers the activation threshold in contrast to conventional approaches that use intense narrow-band opsins and light to activate cellular stimulation.
Project description:Inherited and age-related retinal degenerative diseases cause progressive loss of rod and cone photoreceptors, leading to blindness, but spare downstream retinal neurons, which can be targeted for optogenetic therapy. However, optogenetic approaches have been limited by either low light sensitivity or slow kinetics, and lack adaptation to changes in ambient light, and not been shown to restore object vision. We find that the vertebrate medium wavelength cone opsin (MW-opsin) overcomes these limitations and supports vision in dim light. MW-opsin enables an otherwise blind retinitis pigmenotosa mouse to discriminate temporal and spatial light patterns displayed on a standard LCD computer tablet, displays adaption to changes in ambient light, and restores open-field novel object exploration under incidental room light. By contrast, rhodopsin, which is similar in sensitivity but slower in light response and has greater rundown, fails these tests. Thus, MW-opsin provides the speed, sensitivity and adaptation needed to restore patterned vision.
Project description:Many retinal dystrophies result in photoreceptor loss, but the inner retinal neurons can survive, making them potentially amenable to emerging optogenetic therapies. Here, we show that ectopically expressed human rod opsin, driven by either a non-selective or ON-bipolar cell-specific promoter, can function outside native photoreceptors and restore visual function in a mouse model of advanced retinal degeneration. Electrophysiological recordings from retinal explants and the visual thalamus revealed changes in firing (increases and decreases) induced by simple light pulses, luminance increases, and naturalistic movies in treated mice. These responses could be elicited at light intensities within the physiological range and substantially below those required by other optogenetic strategies. Mice with rod opsin expression driven by the ON-bipolar specific promoter displayed behavioral responses to increases in luminance, flicker, coarse spatial patterns, and elements of a natural movie at levels of contrast and illuminance (?50-100 lux) typical of natural indoor environments. These data reveal that virally mediated ectopic expression of human rod opsin can restore vision under natural viewing conditions and at moderate light intensities. Given the inherent advantages in employing a human protein, the simplicity of this intervention, and the quality of vision restored, we suggest that rod opsin merits consideration as an optogenetic actuator for treating patients with advanced retinal degeneration.
Project description:Rhodopsin homeostasis is tightly coupled to rod photoreceptor cell survival and vision. Mutations resulting in the misfolding of rhodopsin can lead to autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa (adRP), a progressive retinal degeneration that currently is untreatable. Using a cell-based high-throughput screen (HTS) to identify small molecules that can stabilize the P23H-opsin mutant, which causes most cases of adRP, we identified a novel pharmacological chaperone of rod photoreceptor opsin, YC-001. As a non-retinoid molecule, YC-001 demonstrates micromolar potency and efficacy greater than 9-cis-retinal with lower cytotoxicity. YC-001 binds to bovine rod opsin with an EC50 similar to 9-cis-retinal. The chaperone activity of YC-001 is evidenced by its ability to rescue the transport of multiple rod opsin mutants in mammalian cells. YC-001 is also an inverse agonist that non-competitively antagonizes rod opsin signaling. Significantly, a single dose of YC-001 protects Abca4 -/- Rdh8 -/- mice from bright light-induced retinal degeneration, suggesting its broad therapeutic potential.
Project description:Rhodopsin, the visual pigment mediating vision under dim light, is composed of the apoprotein opsin and the chromophore ligand 11-cis-retinal. A P23H mutation in the opsin gene is one of the most prevalent causes of the human blinding disease, autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa. Although P23H cultured cell and transgenic animal models have been developed, there remains controversy over whether they fully mimic the human phenotype; and the exact mechanism by which this mutation leads to photoreceptor cell degeneration remains unknown. By generating P23H opsin knock-in mice, we found that the P23H protein was inadequately glycosylated with levels 1-10% that of wild type opsin. Moreover, the P23H protein failed to accumulate in rod photoreceptor cell endoplasmic reticulum but instead disrupted rod photoreceptor disks. Genetically engineered P23H mice lacking the chromophore showed accelerated photoreceptor cell degeneration. These results indicate that most synthesized P23H protein is degraded, and its retinal cytotoxicity is enhanced by lack of the 11-cis-retinal chromophore during rod outer segment development.
Project description:We developed new optic devices - singly-doped luminescence glasses and nanoparticle-coated lenses that convert UV light to visible light - for improvement of visual system functions. Tb(3+) or Eu(3+) singly-doped borate glasses or CdS-quantum dot (CdS-QD) coated lenses efficiently convert UV light to 542 nm or 613 nm wavelength narrow-band green or red light, or wide-spectrum white light, and thereby provide extra visible light to the eye. In zebrafish (wild-type larvae and adult control animals, retinal degeneration mutants, and light-induced photoreceptor cell degeneration models), the use of Tb(3+) or Eu(3+) doped luminescence glass or CdS-QD coated glass lenses provide additional visible light to the rod and cone photoreceptor cells, and thereby improve the visual system functions. The data provide proof-of-concept for the future development of optic devices for improvement of visual system functions in patients who suffer from photoreceptor cell degeneration or related retinal diseases.
Project description:Ciliary opsins were classically thought to function only in vertebrates for vision, but they have also been identified recently in invertebrates for non-visual photoreception. Larvae of the annelid Platynereis dumerilii are used as a zooplankton model, and this zooplankton species possesses a "vertebrate-type" ciliary opsin (named c-opsin) in the brain. Platynereis c-opsin is suggested to relay light signals for melatonin production and circadian behaviors. Thus, the spectral and biochemical characteristics of this c-opsin would be directly related to non-visual photoreception in this zooplankton model. Here we demonstrate that the c-opsin can sense UV to activate intracellular signaling cascades and that it can directly bind exogenous all-trans-retinal. These results suggest that this c-opsin regulates circadian signaling in a UV-dependent manner and that it does not require a supply of 11-cis-retinal for photoreception. Avoidance of damaging UV irradiation is a major cause of large-scale daily zooplankton movement, and the observed capability of the c-opsin to transmit UV signals and bind all-trans-retinal is ideally suited for sensing UV radiation in the brain, which presumably lacks enzymes producing 11-cis-retinal. Mutagenesis analyses indicated that a unique amino acid residue (Lys-94) is responsible for c-opsin-mediated UV sensing in the Platynereis brain. We therefore propose that acquisition of the lysine residue in the c-opsin would be a critical event in the evolution of Platynereis to enable detection of ambient UV light. In summary, our findings indicate that the c-opsin possesses spectral and biochemical properties suitable for UV sensing by the zooplankton model.
Project description:Spectral composition affects emmetropization in both humans and animal models. Because color vision interacts the effects of chromatic defocus, we developed a method to bypass the effects of longitudinal chromatic aberration by placing a spectral filter behind the optics of the eye, using genetic tools. Newborn C57BL/6J (B6) mice were reared in quasi-monochromatic red (410-510 nm) or blue (585-660 nm) light beginning before eye-opening. Refractive states and ocular dimensions were compared at 4, 6, 8, and 10 weeks with mice reared in normal white light. Cre recombinase-dependent Ai9 reporter mice were crossed with Chx10-Cre to obtain Chx10-Cre;Ai9 mice, expressing red fluorescent protein in retinal Cre-positive cells. Ai9 offsprings, with and without Cre, were reared under a normal visual environment. Refraction and axial components were measured as described above. Expression levels of M and S opsin were quantified by western blotting at 10 weeks. Compared with those reared in white light, B6 mice reared in red light developed relative hyperopia, principally characterized by flattening of corneal curvature. Emmetropization was not affected by blue light, possibly because the reduction in vitreous chamber depth compensated for the increase in corneal curvature. Compared with Cre-negative littermates, the refraction and axial dimensions of Chx10-Cre;Ai9 mice were not significantly different at the follow-up timepoints. M opsin levels were higher in Chx10-Cre;Ai9 mice at 10 weeks while S opsin levels were not different. Red light induced a hyperopic shift in mouse refractive development. Emmetropization was not impacted in mice with perturbed color vision caused by intrinsic red-fluorescent protein, suggesting that color vision may not be necessary in mouse emmetropization when other mechanisms are present.
Project description:Mutations in RPE65 or lecithin-retinol acyltransferase (LRAT) disrupt 11-cis-retinal synthesis and cause Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), a severe hereditary blindness occurring in early childhood. The pathology is attributed to a combination of 11-cis-retinal deficiency and photoreceptor degeneration. The mistrafficking of cone membrane-associated proteins including cone opsins (M- and S-opsins), cone transducin (G?t2), G-protein-coupled receptor kinase 1 (GRK1) and guanylate cyclase 1 (GC1) has been suggested to play a role in cone degeneration. However, their precise role in cone degeneration is unclear. Here we investigated the role of S-opsin (Opn1sw) in cone degeneration in Lrat(-) (/-), a murine model for LCA, by genetic ablation of S-opsin. We show that deletion of just one allele of S-opsin from Lrat(-) (/-) mice is sufficient to prevent the rapid cone degeneration for at least 1 month. Deletion of both alleles of S-opsin prevents cone degeneration for an extended period (at least 12 months). This genetic prevention is accompanied by a reduction of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in Lrat(-) (/-) photoreceptors. Despite cone survival in Opn1sw(-/-)Lrat(-) (/-) mice, cone membrane-associated proteins (e.g. G?t2, GRK1 and GC1) continue to have trafficking problems. Our results suggest that cone opsins are the 'culprit' linking 11-cis-retinal deficiency to cone degeneration in LCA. This result has important implications for the current gene therapy strategy that emphasizes the need for a combinatorial therapy to both improve vision and slow photoreceptor degeneration.
Project description:Photoisomerization of the 11-cis-retinal chromophore of rod and cone visual pigments to an all-trans-configuration is the initiating event for vision in vertebrates. The regeneration of 11-cis-retinal, necessary for sustained visual function, is an endergonic process normally conducted by specialized enzyme systems. However, 11-cis-retinal also can be formed through reverse photoisomerization from all-trans-retinal. A nonvisual opsin known as retinal pigment epithelium (RPE)-retinal G-protein-coupled receptor (RGR) was previously shown to mediate visual chromophore regeneration in photic conditions, but conflicting results have cast doubt on its role as a photoisomerase. Here, we describe high-level production of 11-cis-retinal from RPE membranes stimulated by illumination at a narrow band of wavelengths. This activity was associated with RGR and enhanced by cellular retinaldehyde-binding protein (CRALBP), which binds the 11-cis-retinal produced by RGR and prevents its re-isomerization to all-trans-retinal. The activity was recapitulated with cells heterologously expressing RGR and with purified recombinant RGR. Using an RGR variant, K255A, we confirmed that a Schiff base linkage at Lys-255 is critical for substrate binding and isomerization. Single-cell RNA-Seq analysis of the retina and RPE tissue confirmed that RGR is expressed in human and bovine RPE and Müller glia, whereas mouse RGR is expressed in RPE but not in Müller glia. These results provide key insights into the mechanisms of physiological retinoid photoisomerization and suggest a novel mechanism by which RGR, in concert with CRALBP, regenerates the visual chromophore in the RPE under sustained light conditions.