Fenofibrate prevents iron induced activation of canonical Wnt/?-catenin and oxidative stress signaling in the retina.
ABSTRACT: Accumulating evidence strongly implicates iron in the pathogenesis of aging and disease. Iron levels have been found to increase with age in both the human and mouse retinas. We and others have shown that retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy are associated with disrupted iron homeostasis, resulting in retinal iron accumulation. In addition, hereditary disorders due to mutation in one of the iron regulatory genes lead to age dependent retinal iron overload and degeneration. However, our knowledge on whether iron toxicity contributes to the retinopathy is limited. Recently, we reported that iron accumulation is associated with the upregulation of retinal and renal renin-angiotensin system (RAS). Evidences indicate that multiple genes/components of the RAS are targets of Wnt/?-catenin signaling. Interestingly, aberrant activation of Wnt/?-catenin signaling is observed in several degenerative diseases. In the present study, we explored whether iron accumulation regulates canonical Wnt signaling in the retina. We found that in vitro and in vivo iron treatment resulted in the upregulation of Wnt/?-catenin signaling and its downstream target genes including renin-angiotensin system in the retina. We confirmed further that iron activates canonical Wnt signaling in the retina using TOPFlash T-cell factor/lymphoid enhancer factor promoter assay and Axin2-LacZ reporter mouse. The presence of an iron chelator or an antioxidant reversed the iron-mediated upregulation of Wnt/?-catenin signaling in retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells. In addition, treatment of RPE cells with peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) ?-agonist fenofibrate prevented iron-induced activation of oxidative stress and Wnt/?-catenin signaling by chelating the iron. The role of fenofibrate, an FDA-approved drug for hyperlipidemia, as an iron chelator has potentially significant therapeutic impact on iron associated degenerative diseases.
Project description:The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) consists of a monolayer of cuboidal, pigmented cells that is located between the retina and the choroid. The RPE is vital for growth and function of the vertebrate eye and improper development results in congenital defects, such as microphthalmia or anophthalmia, or a change of cell fate into neural retina called transdifferentiation. The transcription factors microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (Mitf) and orthodenticle homolog 2 (Otx2) are crucial for RPE development and function; however, very little is known about their regulation. Here, by using a Wnt-responsive reporter, we show that the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway is activated in the differentiating mouse RPE. Cre-mediated, RPE-specific disruption of beta-catenin after the onset of RPE specification causes severe defects, resulting in microphthalmia with coloboma, disturbed lamination, and mislocalization of adherens junction proteins. Upon beta-catenin deletion, the RPE transforms into a multilayered tissue in which the expression of Mitf and Otx2 is downregulated, while retina-specific gene expression is induced, which results in the transdifferentiation of RPE into retina. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and luciferase assays indicate that beta-catenin binds near to and activates potential TCF/LEF sites in the Mitf and Otx2 enhancers. We conclude that Wnt/beta-catenin signaling is required for differentiation of the RPE by directly regulating the expression of Mitf and Otx2. Our study is the first to show that an extracellular signaling pathway directly regulates the expression of RPE-specific genes such as Mitf and Otx2, and elucidates a new role for the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway in organ formation and development.
Project description:The newt is an amazing four-limbed vertebrate that can regenerate various body parts including the retina. In this animal, when the neural retina (NR) is removed from the eye by surgery (retinectomy), both the NR and the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) eventually regenerate through the process of reprogramming and proliferation of RPE cells. Thus far, we have pursued the onset mechanism of adult newt retinal regeneration. In this study, using an in vitro system, we found that both mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) kinase (MEK)-ERK and ?-catenin were involved in cell cycle re-entry of RPE cells. MEK-ERK signaling activity in RPE cells was strengthened by retinectomy, and nuclear translocation of ?-catenin in RPE cells was induced by attenuation of cell-cell contact, which was promoted by incision of the RPE or its treatment with ethylene glycol tetraacetic acid (EGTA). EGTA is a Ca2+ chelator that disrupts cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion. Reinforcement of MEK-ERK signaling activity was a prerequisite for nuclear translocation of ?-catenin. These results suggest that retinectomy followed by attenuation of cell-cell contact may trigger cell cycle re-entry of RPE cells. This study, together with our previous findings concerning the proliferation and multipotency of adult newt RPE cells, provides insight into the mechanism of the multi-step trigger in which the onset of retinal regeneration in the adult newt is rigorously controlled.
Project description:Description FGF and Wnt signaling controls the phase transition of the ocular fate. The developing vertebrate eye cup is partitioned into the neural retina (NR), the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE), and the ciliary margin (CM). By single-cell analysis, we showed that fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling regulates the CM in its stem cell–like property of self-renewal, differentiation, and survival, which is balanced by an evolutionarily conserved Wnt signaling gradient. FGF promotes Wnt signaling in the CM by stabilizing β-catenin in a GSK3β-independent manner. While Wnt signaling converts the NR to either the CM or the RPE depending on FGF signaling, FGF transforms the RPE to the NR or CM dependent on Wnt activity. The default fate of the eye cup is the NR, but synergistic FGF and Wnt signaling promotes CM formation both in vivo and in human retinal organoid. Our study reveals that the vertebrate eye develops through phase transition determined by a combinatorial code of FGF and Wnt signaling.
Project description:<h4>Purpose</h4>Development of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is controlled by intrinsic and extrinsic regulators including orthodenticle homeobox 2 (Otx2) and the Wnt/?-catenin pathway, respectively. Otx2 and ?-catenin are necessary for the expression of the RPE key regulator microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (Mitf); however, neither factor is sufficient to promote Mitf expression in vivo. The study was conducted to determine whether Otx2 and ?-catenin act in a combinatorial manner and tested whether co-expression in the presumptive chick retina induces ectopic Mitf expression.<h4>Methods</h4>The sufficiency of Wnt/?-catenin activation and/or Otx2 expression to induce RPE-specific gene expression was examined in chick optic vesicle explant cultures or in the presumptive neural retina using in ovo-electroporation. Luciferase assays were used to examine the transactivation potentials of Otx2 and ?-catenin on the Mitf-D enhancer and autoregulation of the Mitf-D and Otx2T0 enhancers.<h4>Results</h4>In optic vesicles explant cultures, RPE-specific gene expression was activated by lithium chloride, a Wnt/?-catenin agonist. However, in vivo, Mitf was induced only in the presumptive retina if both ?-catenin and Otx2 are co-expressed. Furthermore, both Mitf and Otx2 can autoregulate their own enhancers in vitro.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The present study provides evidence that ?-catenin and Otx2 are sufficient, at least in part, to convert retinal progenitor cells into presumptive RPE cells expressing Mitf. Otx2 may act as a competence factor that allows RPE specification in concert with additional RPE-promoting factors such as ?-catenin.
Project description:A multitude of signalling pathways are involved in the process of forming an eye. Here we demonstrate that ?-catenin is essential for eye development as inactivation of ?-catenin prior to cellular specification in the optic vesicle caused anophthalmia in mice. By achieving this early and tissue-specific ?-catenin inactivation we find that retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) commitment was blocked and eye development was arrested prior to optic cup formation due to a loss of canonical Wnt signalling in the dorsal optic vesicle. Thus, these results show that Wnt/?-catenin signalling is required earlier and play a more central role in eye development than previous studies have indicated. In our genetic model system a few RPE cells could escape ?-catenin inactivation leading to the formation of a small optic rudiment. The optic rudiment contained several neural retinal cell classes surrounded by an RPE. Unlike the RPE cells, the neural retinal cells could be ?-catenin-negative revealing that differentiation of the neural retinal cell classes is ?-catenin-independent. Moreover, although dorsoventral patterning is initiated in the mutant optic vesicle, the neural retinal cells in the optic rudiment displayed almost exclusively ventral identity. Thus, ?-catenin is required for optic cup formation, commitment to RPE cells and maintenance of dorsal identity of the retina.
Project description:PURPOSE:Matriptase-2 (also known as TMPRSS6) is a critical regulator of the iron-regulatory hormone hepcidin in the liver; matriptase-2 cleaves membrane-bound hemojuvelin and consequently alters bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling. Hemojuvelin and hepcidin are expressed in the retina and play a critical role in retinal iron homeostasis. However, no information on the expression and function of matriptase-2 in the retina is available. The purpose of the present study was to examine the retinal expression of matriptase-2 and its role in retinal iron homeostasis. METHODS:RT-PCR, quantitative PCR (qPCR), and immunofluorescence were used to analyze the expression of matriptase-2 and other iron-regulatory proteins in the mouse retina. Polarized localization of matriptase-2 in the RPE was evaluated using markers for the apical and basolateral membranes. Morphometric analysis of retinas from wild-type and matriptase-2 knockout (Tmprss6(msk/msk) ) mice was also performed. Retinal iron status in Tmprss6(msk/msk) mice was evaluated by comparing the expression levels of ferritin and transferrin receptor 1 between wild-type and knockout mice. BMP signaling was monitored by the phosphorylation status of Smads1/5/8 and expression levels of Id1 while interleukin-6 signaling was monitored by the phosphorylation status of STAT3. RESULTS:Matriptase-2 is expressed in the mouse retina with expression detectable in all retinal cell types. Expression of matriptase-2 is restricted to the apical membrane in the RPE where hemojuvelin, the substrate for matriptase-2, is also present. There is no marked difference in retinal morphology between wild-type mice and Tmprss6(msk/msk) mice, except minor differences in specific retinal layers. The knockout mouse retina is iron-deficient, demonstrable by downregulation of the iron-storage protein ferritin and upregulation of transferrin receptor 1 involved in iron uptake. Hepcidin is upregulated in Tmprss6(msk/msk) mouse retinas, particularly in the neural retina. BMP signaling is downregulated while interleukin-6 signaling is upregulated in Tmprss6(msk/msk) mouse retinas, suggesting that the upregulaton of hepcidin in knockout mouse retinas occurs through interleukin-6 signaling and not through BMP signaling. CONCLUSIONS:The iron-regulatory serine protease matriptase-2 is expressed in the retina, and absence of this enzyme leads to iron deficiency and increased expression of hemojuvelin and hepcidin in the retina. The upregulation of hepcidin expression in Tmprss6(msk/msk) mouse retinas does not occur via BMP signaling but likely via the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-6. We conclude that matriptase-2 is a critical participant in retinal iron homeostasis.
Project description:Embryonic stem (ES) cells have a remarkable capacity to self-organize complex, multi-layered optic cups in vitro via a culture technique called SFEBq. During both SFEBq and in vivo optic cup development, Rax (Rx) expressing neural retina epithelial (NRE) tissues utilize Fgf and Wnt/?-catenin signalling pathways to differentiate into neural retina (NR) and retinal-pigmented epithelial (RPE) tissues, respectively. How these signaling pathways affect gene expression during optic tissue formation has remained largely unknown, especially at the transcriptome scale. Here, we address this question using RNA-Seq. We generated Rx+ optic tissue using SFEBq, exposed these tissues to either Fgf or Wnt/?-catenin stimulation, and assayed their gene expression across multiple time points using RNA-Seq. This comparative dataset will help elucidate how Fgf and Wnt/?-catenin signaling affect gene expression during optic tissue differentiation and will help inform future efforts to optimize in vitro optic tissue culture technology.
Project description:Hepcidin is a hormone central to the regulation of iron homeostasis in the body. It is believed to be produced exclusively by the liver. Ferroportin, an iron exporter, is the receptor for hepcidin. This transporter/receptor is expressed in Müller cells, photoreceptor cells and the RPE (retinal pigment epithelium) within the retina. Since the retina is protected by the retinal-blood barriers, we asked whether ferroportin in the retina is regulated by hepcidin in the circulation or whether the retina produces hepcidin for regulation of its own iron homeostasis. Here we show that hepcidin is expressed robustly in Müller cells, photoreceptor cells and RPE cells, closely resembling the expression pattern of ferroportin. We also show that bacterial LPS (lipopolysaccharide) is a regulator of hepcidin expression in Müller cells and the RPE, both in vitro and in vivo, and that the regulation occurs at the transcriptional level. The action of LPS on hepcidin expression is mediated by the TLR4 (Toll-like receptor-4). The upregulation of hepcidin by LPS occurs independent of Hfe (human leukocyte antigen-like protein involved in Fe homeostasis). The increase in hepcidin levels in retinal cells in response to LPS treatment is associated with a decrease in ferroportin levels. The LPS-induced upregulation of hepcidin and consequent down-regulation of ferroportin is associated with increased oxidative stress and apoptosis within the retina in vivo. We conclude that retinal iron homeostasis may be regulated in an autonomous manner by hepcidin generated within the retina and that chronic bacterial infection/inflammation of the retina may disrupt iron homeostasis and retinal function.
Project description:In mammalian albinism, disrupted melanogenesis in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is associated with fewer retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) projecting ipsilaterally to the brain, resulting in numerous abnormalities in the retina and visual pathway, especially binocular vision. To further understand the molecular link between disrupted RPE and a reduced ipsilateral RGC projection in albinism, we compared gene expression in the embryonic albino and pigmented mouse RPE. We found that the Wnt pathway, which directs peripheral retinal differentiation and, generally, cell proliferation, is dysregulated in the albino RPE. Wnt2b expression is expanded in the albino RPE compared with the pigmented RPE, and the expanded region adjoins the site of ipsilateral RGC neurogenesis and settling. Pharmacological activation of Wnt signaling in pigmented mice by lithium (Li+) treatment in vivo reduces the number of Zic2-positive RGCs, which are normally fated to project ipsilaterally, to numbers observed in the albino retina. These results implicate Wnt signaling from the RPE to neural retina as a potential factor in the regulation of ipsilateral RGC production, and thus the albino phenotype.
Project description:Embryonic stem (ES) cells have a remarkable capacity to self-organize complex, multi-layered optic cups in vitro via a culture technique called SFEBq. During both SFEBq and in vivo optic cup development, Rax (Rx) expressing neural retina epithelial (NRE) tissues utilize Fgf and Wnt/β-catenin signalling pathways to differentiate into neural retina (NR) and retinal-pigmented epithelial (RPE) tissues, respectively. How these signaling pathways affect gene expression during optic tissue formation has remained largely unknown, especially at the transcriptome scale. We generated Day 10 Rx+ optic tissue using SFEBq, exposed these tissues to either Fgf or Wnt/β-catenin stimulation, and assayed their gene expression at Days 12 and 15 using RNA-Seq. We measured gene expression in these 5 sample groups in biological triplicate using RNA-seq (Illumina HiSeq) .