Reshaping the Cone-Mosaic in a Rat Model of Retinitis Pigmentosa: Modulatory Role of ZO-1 Expression in DL-Alpha-Aminoadipic Acid Reshaping.
ABSTRACT: In S334ter-line-3 rat model of Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), rod cell death induces the rearrangement of cones into mosaics of rings while the fibrotic processes of Müller cells remodel to fill the center of the rings. In contrast, previous work established that DL-alpha-aminoadipic-acid (AAA), a compound that transiently blocks Müller cell metabolism, abolishes these highly structured cone rings. Simultaneously, adherens-junction associated protein, Zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) expression forms in a network between the photoreceptor segments and Müller cells processes. Thus, we hypothesized that AAA treatment alters the cone mosaic rings by disrupting the distal sealing formed by these fibrotic processes, either directly or indirectly, by down regulating the expression of ZO-1. Therefore, we examined these processes and ZO-1 expression at the outer retina after intravitreal injection of AAA and observed that AAA treatment transiently disrupts the distal glial sealing in RP retina, plus induces cones in rings to become more homogeneous. Moreover, ZO-1 expression is actively suppressed after 3 days of AAA treatment, which coincided with cone ring disruption. Similar modifications of glial sealing and cone distribution were observed after injection of siRNA to inhibit ZO-1 expression. These findings support our hypothesis and provide additional information about the critical role played by ZO-1 in glial sealing and shaping the ring mosaic in RP retina. These studies represent important advancements in the understanding of retinal degeneration's etiology and pathophysiology.
Project description:The adult zebrafish retina possesses a robust regenerative response. In the light-damaged retina, Müller glial cell divisions precede regeneration of rod and cone photoreceptors. Neuronal progenitors, which arise from the Müller glia, continue to divide and use the Müller glial cell processes to migrate to the outer nuclear layer and replace the lost photoreceptors. We tested the necessity of Müller glial cell division for photoreceptor regeneration. As knockdown tools were unavailable for use in the adult zebrafish retina, we developed a method to conditionally inhibit the expression of specific proteins by in vivo electroporation of morpholinos. We determined that two separate morpholinos targeted against the proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) mRNA reduced PCNA protein levels. Furthermore, injection and in vivo electroporation of PCNA morpholinos immediately prior to starting intense light exposure inhibited both Müller glial cell proliferation and neuronal progenitor marker Pax6 expression. PCNA knockdown additionally resulted in decreased expression of glutamine synthetase in Müller glia and Müller glial cell death, while amacrine and ganglion cells were unaffected. Finally, histological and immunological methods showed that long-term effects of PCNA knockdown resulted in decreased numbers of Müller glia and the failure to regenerate rod photoreceptors, short single cones, and long single cones. These data suggest that Müller glial cell division is necessary for proper photoreceptor regeneration in the light-damaged zebrafish retina and are consistent with the Müller glia serving as the source of neuronal progenitor cells in regenerating teleost retinas.
Project description:Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a progressive retinal degeneration in which the retina loses nearly all of its photoreceptor cells and undergoes major structural changes. Little is known regarding the role the resident glia, the Müller glia, play in the progression of the disease. In this article, we define gene expression changes in Müller glial cells (MGCs) from two different mouse models of RP, the retinal degeneration 1 (rd1) and rhodopsin knockout (Rhod-ko) models. The RNA repertoire of single MGCs was comprehensively profiled, and a comparison was made between MGCs from wild-type (WT) and mutant retinas. Two time points were chosen for analysis, one at the peak of rod photoreceptor death and one during the period of cone photoreceptor death.Retinas were dissociated, and single MGCs were chosen under a dissecting microscope using a micropipette. Single cell cDNAs were generated and genome-wide profiles were obtained by hybridization to Affymetrix arrays. A comparison was made among all samples to discover the changes in gene expression during the periods of rod and cone photoreceptor death.MGCs respond to retinal degeneration by undergoing gliosis, a process marked by the upregulation of glial fibrillary acidic protein (Gfap). Many additional transcripts were found to change. These can be placed into functional clusters, such as retinal remodeling, stress response, and immune-related response.A high degree of heterogeneity among the individual cells was observed, possibly due to their different spatial proximities to dying cells and/or inherent heterogeneity among MGCs.
Project description:The multiplex, lattice mosaic of cone photoreceptors in the adult fish retina is a compelling example of a highly ordered epithelial cell pattern, with single cell width rows and columns of cones and precisely defined neighbor relationships among different cone types. Cellular mechanisms patterning this multiplex mosaic are not understood. Physical models can provide new insights into fundamental mechanisms of biological patterning. In earlier work, we developed a mathematical model of photoreceptor cell packing in the zebrafish retina, which predicted that anisotropic mechanical tension in the retinal epithelium orients planar polarized adhesive interfaces to align the columns as cone photoreceptors are generated at the retinal margin during post-embryonic growth.With cell-specific fluorescent reporters and in vivo imaging of the growing retinal margin in transparent juvenile zebrafish we provide the first view of how cell packing, spatial arrangement, and cell identity are coordinated to build the lattice mosaic. With targeted laser ablation we probed the tissue mechanics of the retinal epithelium.Within the lattice mosaic, planar polarized Crumbs adhesion proteins pack cones into a single cell width column; between columns, N-cadherin-mediated adherens junctions stabilize Müller glial apical processes. The concentration of activated pMyosin II at these punctate adherens junctions suggests that these glial bands are under tension, forming a physical barrier between cone columns and contributing to mechanical stress anisotropies in the epithelial sheet. Unexpectedly, we discovered that the appearance of such parallel bands of Müller glial apical processes precedes the packing of cones into single cell width columns, hinting at a possible role for glia in the initial organization of the lattice mosaic. Targeted laser ablation of Müller glia directly demonstrates that these glial processes support anisotropic mechanical tension in the planar dimension of the retinal epithelium.These findings uncovered a novel structural feature of Müller glia associated with alignment of photoreceptors into a lattice mosaic in the zebrafish retina. This is the first demonstration, to our knowledge, of planar, anisotropic mechanical forces mediated by glial cells.
Project description:Hippo signalling regulates eye growth during embryogenesis through its effectors YAP and TAZ. Taking advantage of a Yap heterozygous mouse line, we here sought to examine its function in adult neural retina, where YAP expression is restricted to Müller glia. We first discovered an unexpected temporal dynamic of gene compensation. At postnatal stages, Taz upregulation occurs, leading to a gain of function-like phenotype characterised by EGFR signalling potentiation and delayed cell-cycle exit of retinal progenitors. In contrast, Yap+/- adult retinas no longer exhibit TAZ-dependent dosage compensation. In this context, Yap haploinsufficiency in aged individuals results in Müller glia dysfunction, late-onset cone degeneration, and reduced cone-mediated visual response. Alteration of glial homeostasis and altered patterns of cone opsins were also observed in Müller cell-specific conditional Yap-knockout aged mice. Together, this study highlights a novel YAP function in Müller cells for the maintenance of retinal tissue homeostasis and the preservation of cone integrity. It also suggests that YAP haploinsufficiency should be considered and explored as a cause of cone dystrophies in human.
Project description:While rods in the mammalian retina regenerate rhodopsin through a well-characterized pathway in cells of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), cone visual pigments are thought to regenerate in part through an additional pathway in Müller cells of the neural retina. The proteins comprising this intrinsic retinal visual cycle are unknown. Here, we show that RGR opsin and retinol dehydrogenase-10 (Rdh10) convert all-trans-retinol to 11-cis-retinol during exposure to visible light. Isolated retinas from Rgr+/+ and Rgr-/- mice were exposed to continuous light, and cone photoresponses were recorded. Cones in Rgr-/- retinas lost sensitivity at a faster rate than cones in Rgr+/+ retinas. A similar effect was seen in Rgr+/+ retinas following treatment with the glial cell toxin, ?-aminoadipic acid. These results show that RGR opsin is a critical component of the Müller cell visual cycle and that regeneration of cone visual pigment can be driven by light.
Project description:The light-damaged zebrafish retina results in the death of photoreceptor cells and the subsequent regeneration of the missing rod and cone cells. Photoreceptor regeneration initiates with asymmetric Müller glial cell division to produce neuronal progenitor cells, which amplify, migrate to the outer nuclear layer (ONL), and differentiate into both classes of photoreceptor cells. In this study, we examined the role of the Pax6 protein in regeneration. In zebrafish, there are two Pax6 proteins, one encoded by the pax6a gene and the other encoded by the pax6b gene. We intravitreally injected and electroporated morpholinos that were complementary to either the pax6a or pax6b mRNA to knockdown the translation of the corresponding protein. Loss of Pax6b expression did not affect Müller glial cell division, but blocked the subsequent first cell division of the neuronal progenitors. In contrast, the paralogous Pax6a protein was required for later neuronal progenitor cell divisions, which maximized the number of neuronal progenitors. Without neuronal progenitor cell amplification, proliferation of resident ONL rod precursor cells, which can only regenerate rods, increased inversely proportional to the number of INL neuronal progenitor cells. This confirmed that Müller glial-derived neuronal progenitor cells are necessary to regenerate cones and that distinct mechanisms selectively regenerate rod and cone photoreceptors. This work also defines distinct roles for Pax6a and Pax6b in regulating neuronal progenitor cell proliferation in the adult zebrafish retina and increases our understanding of the molecular pathways required for photoreceptor cell regeneration.
Project description:The damaged zebrafish retina replaces lost neurons through a regenerative response that initiates with the asymmetric cell division of Müller glia to produce neuronal progenitor cells that proliferate and migrate to the damaged retinal layer, where they differentiate into the lost neuronal cell types. Because Müller glia are known to phagocytose apoptotic retinal cells during development, we tested if Müller glia engulfed apoptotic rod cell bodies in light-damaged retinas. After 24h of constant intense light, damaged retinas revealed both a strong nuclear TUNEL signal in photoreceptors and a weak cytoplasmic TUNEL signal in Müller glia, although Müller glial apoptosis is not observed in the light-damaged retina. Light damage of a rod-specific transgenic reporter line, Tg(XlRho:EGFP)(fl1), resulted in some Müller glia containing both TUNEL signal and EGFP, which indicated that this subset of Müller glia engulfed apoptotic photoreceptor cell bodies. To determine if phagocytosis induced the Müller glial proliferative response in the light-damaged retina, we utilized O-phospho-l-serine (L-SOP), a molecule that mimics the phosphatidylserine head group and partially blocks microglial phagocytosis of apoptotic cells. Intravitreal injection of L-SOP immediately prior to beginning constant intense light treatment: i) did not significantly reduce light-induced photoreceptor cell death, ii) significantly reduced the number of PCNA-positive Müller glia, and iii) significantly reduced the number of cone photoreceptors in the regenerated retina relative to control retinas. Because L-SOP is also a specific group III metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) agonist, we also tested if the more potent specific group III agonist, L-2-amino-4-phosphonobutyrate (L-AP4), the specific group III antagonist (RS)-?-Methylserine-O-phosphate (MSOP) or the specific group I antagonist, L-2-amino-3-phophonopropanoic acid (L-AP3) affected Müller glial proliferation. We found no changes with any of these factors compared to control retinas, revealing that metabotropic glutamate receptors were not necessary in the Müller glia proliferative response. Furthermore, ascl1a and stat3 expression were unaffected in either the L-SOP or MSOP-injected retinas relative to controls, suggesting L-SOP disrupts Müller glia proliferation subsequent to or in parallel with ascl1a and stat3 activation. This implies that at least one signaling mechanism, in addition to the process disrupted by L-SOP, is required to activate Müller glia proliferation in the light-damaged retina.
Project description:The adult zebrafish retina exhibits a robust regenerative response following light-induced photoreceptor cell death. This response is initiated by the Müller glia proliferating in the inner nuclear layer (INL), which gives rise to neuronal progenitor cells that continue to divide and migrate to the outer nuclear layer (ONL), where they differentiate into rod and cone photoreceptors. We previously conducted a microarray analysis of retinal gene expression at 16, 31, 51, 68, and 96 h of constant intense-light treatment to identify genes and their corresponding proteins that may be involved in the generation and proliferation of the neuronal progenitor cells. We examined the expression of two candidate transcription factors, Pax6 and Ngn1, and one candidate transgene, olig2:EGFP, in the regenerating light-damaged retina. We compared the temporal and spatial expression patterns of these markers relative to PCNA (proliferating cell nuclear antigen), an established marker for proliferating cells in the zebrafish retina, and the Tg(gfap:EGFP) nt11 transgenic line that specifically labels Müller glial cells. We found that Müller glial cells dedifferentiate during regeneration, based on the loss of cell-specific markers such as GFAP (glial fibrillary acidic protein) and glutamine synthetase following their reentry into the cell cycle to produce neuronal progenitors. Pax6 expression was first detected in the proliferating neuronal progenitors by 51 h of constant light treatment, which is significantly after the Müller glia first reenter the cell cycle after 31h of light. This suggests that Pax6 expression increases in neuronal progenitors, rather than in the proliferating Müller glia. EGFP expression from the olig2 promoter was first detected by 68 h of constant light treatment in the dedifferentiated Müller glia, with Pax6 expressed in the closely associated proliferating neuronal progenitors migrating to the ONL. Both Pax6 and olig2 expression persisted until 3 days post-light treatment, when the neuronal progenitors begin differentiating into new rod and cone photoreceptors. Ngn1 protein expression was initially detected in proliferating neuronal progenitors at 68 h of light treatment. However, Ngn1 expression persisted in a subset of the INL nuclei until 17 days post-light treatment. Using the Tg(gfap:EGFP) nt11 transgenic line, Ngn1 was localized to the Müller glial nuclei that were reestablished following the regenerative response. These markers, therefore, can be used to identify different cell types at particular stages of retinal regeneration: neuronal progenitor formation, proliferation, and the reestablishment of the Müller glia cells. These markers will be important to further characterize the regeneration response in other retinal damage models and to elucidate the defects associated with mutants and morphants that disrupt the regeneration response.
Project description:Müller glia, the primary glial cell in the retina, provide structural and metabolic support for neurons and are essential for retinal integrity. Müller cells are closely involved in many retinal degenerative diseases, including macular telangiectasia type 2, in which impairment of central vision may be linked to a primary defect in Müller glia. Here, we used an engineered, Müller-specific variant of AAV, called ShH10, to deliver a photo-inducibly toxic protein, KillerRed, to Müller cells in the mouse retina. We characterized the results of specific ablation of these cells on visual function and retinal structure. ShH10-KillerRed expression was obtained following intravitreal injection and eyes were then irradiated with green light to induce toxicity. Induction of KillerRed led to loss of Müller cells and a concomitant decrease of Müller cell markers glutamine synthetase and cellular retinaldehyde-binding protein, reduction of rhodopsin and cone opsin, and upregulation of glial fibrillary acidic protein. Loss of Müller cells also resulted in retinal disorganization, including thinning of the outer nuclear layer and the photoreceptor inner and outer segments. High resolution imaging of thin sections revealed displacement of photoreceptors from the ONL, formation of rosette-like structures and the presence of phagocytic cells. Furthermore, Müller cell ablation resulted in increased area and volume of retinal blood vessels, as well as the formation of tortuous blood vessels and vascular leakage. Electrophysiologic measures demonstrated reduced retinal function, evident in decreased photopic and scotopic electroretinogram amplitudes. These results show that loss of Müller cells can cause progressive retinal degenerative disease, and suggest that AAV delivery of an inducibly toxic protein in Müller cells may be useful to create large animal models of retinal dystrophies.
Project description:Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a progressive retinal degeneration in which the retina loses nearly all of its photoreceptor cells and undergoes major structural changes. Little is known regarding the role the resident glia, the Müller glia, play in the progression of the disease. Here we define gene expression changes in Müller glial cells (MGCs) from two different mouse models of RP, the retinal degeneration 1 (rd1) and rhodopsin knock-out (Rhod-ko) models. The RNA repertoire of 28 single MGCs was comprehensively profiled, and a comparison was made between MGC from wild type (WT) and mutant retinas. Two time points were chosen for analysis, one at the peak of rod photoreceptor death and one during the period of cone photoreceptor death. MGCs have been shown to respond to retinal degeneration by undergoing gliosis, a process marked by the upregulation of GFAP. In this data, many additional transcripts were found to change. These can be placed into functional clusters, such as retinal remodeling, stress response, and immune related response. It is noteworthy that a high degree of heterogeneity among the individual cells was observed, possibly due to their different spatial proximities to dying cells, and/or inherent heterogeneity among MGCs. Retinas were dissociated and single Muller Glial Cells were picked under a dissecting microscope using a micropipette based on their distinct morphological shape. Single cell cDNAs were generated and genome wide profiles were obtained by hybridization to Affymetrix 430 2.0 microarrays. Data was normalized using MAS5.0 software. A total of 28 Muller Glial Cells were analyzed and confirmed post hoc by expression of known marker genes.