Project description:Absence of a regenerative pathway for damaged retina following injury or disease has led to experiments using stem cell transplantation for retinal repair, and encouraging results have been obtained in rodents. The swine eye is a closer anatomical and physiological match to the human eye, but embryonic stem cells have not been isolated from pig, and photoreceptor differentiation has not been demonstrated with induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) of swine. Here, we subjected iPSCs of swine to a rod photoreceptor differentiation protocol consisting of floating culture as embryoid bodies followed by differentiation in adherent culture. Real-time PCR and immunostaining of differentiated cells demonstrated loss of expression of the pluripotent genes POU5F1, NANOG, and SOX2 and induction of rod photoreceptor genes RCVRN, NRL, RHO, and ROM1. While these differentiated cells displayed neuronal morphology, culturing on a Matrigel substratum triggered a further morphological change resulting in concentration of rhodopsin (RHO) and rod outer segment-specific membrane protein 1 in outer segment-like projections resembling those on primary cultures of rod photoreceptors. The differentiated cells were transplanted into the subretinal space of pigs treated with iodoacetic acid to eliminate rod photoreceptors. Three weeks after transplantation, engrafted RHO+ cells were evident in the outer nuclear layer where photoreceptors normally reside. A portion of these transplanted cells had generated projections resembling outer segments. These results demonstrate that iPSCs of swine can differentiate into photoreceptors in culture, and these cells can integrate into the damaged swine neural retina, thus, laying a foundation for future studies using the pig as a model for retinal stem cell transplantation.
Project description:AIMS:During early development, laminin degradation contributes to the death of neurons. This study aims to investigate the role and regulation of laminin in ketamine-induced apoptosis. METHODS:We performed terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase biotin-dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) and immunohistochemical assays to investigate the roles of the non-integrin laminin receptor, matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) in ketamine-induced neuronal apoptosis. In situ zymography, Western blot, and immunofluorescence were used to explore the relationships between laminin, MMP9 activity, and Zn2+ . Experiments were performed using whole-mount retinas dissected from Sprague Dawley rats. RESULTS:The TUNEL and immunohistochemical assays indicated that ketamine-induced neuronal apoptosis in early developing rat retina. Blockade of non-integrin laminin receptor promoted ketamine-induced apoptosis, while non-integrin laminin receptor activation attenuated ketamine-induced apoptosis. Ketamine-induced laminin degradation, possibly by enhancing the activity of MMP9. MMP9 inhibition reduced ketamine-induced apoptosis by reducing laminin degradation. Downregulation of Zn2+ attenuated the increased MMP9 activity, laminin degradation caused by ketamine and significantly reduced ketamine-induced neuronal apoptosis. CONCLUSION:Laminin degradation by MMP9 promoted ketamine-induced neuronal apoptosis in early developing rat retina. The non-integrin laminin receptor may be a pathway involved in ketamine-induced apoptosis. Zn2+ downregulation may play a protective role against ketamine-induced neuronal apoptosis through inhibiting MMP9 activity.
Project description:In the mammalian retina, rod and cone photoreceptors transmit the visual information to bipolar neurons through highly specialized ribbon synapses. We have limited understanding of regulatory pathways that guide morphogenesis and organization of photoreceptor presynaptic architecture in the developing retina. While neural retina leucine zipper (NRL) transcription factor determines rod cell fate and function, cone-rod homeobox (CRX) controls the expression of both rod- and cone-specific genes and is critical for terminal differentiation of photoreceptors. A comprehensive immunohistochemical evaluation of Crx-/- (null), CrxRip/+ and CrxRip/Rip (models of dominant congenital blindness) mouse retinas revealed abnormal photoreceptor synapses, with atypical ribbon shape, number and length. Integrated analysis of retinal transcriptomes of Crx-mutants with CRX- and NRL-ChIP-Seq data identified a subset of differentially expressed CRX target genes that encode presynaptic proteins associated with the cytomatrix active zone (CAZ) and synaptic vesicles. Immunohistochemistry of Crx-mutant retina validated aberrant expression of REEP6, PSD95, MPP4, UNC119, UNC13, RGS7 and RGS11, with some reduction in Ribeye and no significant change in immunostaining of RIMS1, RIMS2, Bassoon and Pikachurin. Our studies demonstrate that CRX controls the establishment of CAZ and anchoring of ribbons, but not the formation of ribbon itself, in photoreceptor presynaptic terminals.
Project description:Replacement of dysfunctional or dying photoreceptors offers a promising approach for retinal neurodegenerative diseases, including age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. Several studies have demonstrated the integration and differentiation of developing rod photoreceptors when transplanted in wild-type or degenerating retina; however, the physiology and function of the donor cells are not adequately defined. Here, we describe the physiological properties of developing rod photoreceptors that are tagged with green fluorescent protein (GFP) driven by the promoter of rod differentiation factor, Nrl. GFP-tagged developing rods show Ca(2 +) responses and rectifier outward currents that are smaller than those observed in fully developed photoreceptors, suggesting their immature developmental state. These immature rods also exhibit hyperpolarization-activated current (Ih ) induced by the activation of hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels. When transplanted into the subretinal space of wild-type or retinal degeneration mice, GFP-tagged developing rods can integrate into the photoreceptor outer nuclear layer in wild-type mouse retina and exhibit Ca(2 +) responses and membrane current comparable to native rod photoreceptors. A proportion of grafted rods develop rhodopsin-positive outer segment-like structures within 2 weeks after transplantation into the retina of Crx-knockout mice and produce rectifier outward current and Ih upon membrane depolarization and hyperpolarization. GFP-positive rods derived from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells also display similar membrane current Ih as native developing rod photoreceptors, express rod-specific phototransduction genes, and HCN-1 channels. We conclude that Nrl-promoter-driven GFP-tagged donor photoreceptors exhibit physiological characteristics of rods and that iPS cell-derived rods in vitro may provide a renewable source for cell-replacement therapy.
Project description:Vertebrate retinal development follows a highly stereotyped pattern, in which the retinal progenitor cells (RPCs) give rise to all retinal types in a conserved temporal sequence. Ensuring the proper control over RPC cell cycle exit and re-entry is, therefore, crucially important for the generation of properly functioning retina. In this study, we demonstrate that laminins, indispensible ECM components, at the retinal surface, regulate the mechanisms determining whether RPCs generate proliferative or post-mitotic progeny. <i>In vivo</i> deletion of laminin β2 in mice resulted in disturbing the RPC cell cycle dynamics, and premature cell cycle exit. Specifically, the RPC S-phase is shortened, with increased numbers of cells present in its late stages. This is followed by an accelerated G2-phase, leading to faster M-phase entry. Finally, the M-phase is extended, with RPCs dwelling longer in prophase. Addition of exogenous β2-containing laminins to laminin β2-deficient retinal explants restored the appropriate RPC cell cycle dynamics, as well as S and M-phase progression, leading to proper cell cycle re-entry. Moreover, we show that disruption of dystroglycan, a laminin receptor, phenocopies the laminin β2 deletion cell cycle phenotype. Together, our findings suggest that dystroglycan-mediated ECM signaling plays a critical role in regulating the RPC cell cycle dynamics, and the ensuing cell fate decisions.
Project description:Recent studies have demonstrated that melanopsin is a key photopigment in the mammalian circadian system. This novel opsin is exclusively expressed in retinal ganglion cells that are intrinsically sensitive to light, perhaps responding via a melanopsin-based signaling pathway. Previous investigations using transgenic mice have also demonstrated that ablation of the classical photoreceptors and of melanopsin prevents entrainment of several circadian rhythms, thus demonstrating that these photoreceptors are necessary and sufficient for circadian photoreception. In this study, we investigated the effect of photoreceptor degeneration on melanopsin mRNA regulation in RCS/N-rdy rats (Royal College of Surgeons rats with a defect in the retinal dystrophy gene). We used animals at postnatal day 21 (P21), P33, P45, and P60. At P60 degeneration of the retina in RCS/N-rdy has advanced to the point where the majority of the photoreceptors have degenerated. Our data indicate that melanopsin mRNA levels were rhythmic in light/dark cycle and in constant darkness in congenic controls (RCS/N-rdy+) and in RCS/N-rdy at P21 (i.e., before the degeneration of the photoreceptors). On the other hand, in RCS/N-rdy at P60, melanopsin mRNA levels were greatly reduced (<90%) and not rhythmic. Photoreceptor degeneration did not affect the expression of pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide mRNA (a marker for melanopsin-containing ganglion cells). Our results suggest that classical photoreceptors (rods and cones) regulate the expression of melanopsin mRNA in the rat. Because RCS/N-rdy rats are a model for studies on retinitis pigmentosa in human, our data may provide an important insight on melanopsin function in patients affected by retinitis pigmentosa.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Inherited and acquired retinal degenerations are frequent causes of visual impairment and photoreceptor cell replacement therapy may restore visual function to these individuals. To provide a source of new retinal neurons for cell based therapies, we developed methods to derive retinal progenitors from human ES cells. METHODOLOGY/PHYSICAL FINDINGS:In this report we have used a similar method to direct induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) from human fibroblasts to a retinal progenitor fate, competent to generate photoreceptors. We also found we could purify the photoreceptors derived from the iPS cells using fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) after labeling photoreceptors with a lentivirus driving GFP from the IRBP cis-regulatory sequences. Moreover, we found that when we transplanted the FACS purified iPSC derived photoreceptors, they were able to integrate into a normal mouse retina and express photoreceptor markers. CONCLUSIONS:This report provides evidence that enriched populations of human photoreceptors can be derived from iPS cells.
Project description:Death of photoreceptors is a common cause of age-related and inherited retinal dystrophies, and thus their replenishment from renewable stem cell sources is a highly desirable therapeutic goal. Human pluripotent stem cells provide a useful cell source in view of their limitless self-renewal capacity and potential to not only differentiate into cells of the retina but also self-organize into tissue with structure akin to the human retina as part of three-dimensional retinal organoids. Photoreceptor precursors have been isolated from differentiating human pluripotent stem cells through application of cell surface markers or fluorescent reporter approaches and shown to have a similar transcriptome to fetal photoreceptors. In this study, we investigated the transcriptional profile of CRX-expressing photoreceptor precursors derived from human pluripotent stem cells and their engraftment capacity in an animal model of retinitis pigmentosa (Pde6brd1), which is characterized by rapid photoreceptor degeneration. Single cell RNA-Seq analysis revealed the presence of a dominant cell cluster comprising 72% of the cells, which displayed the hallmarks of early cone photoreceptor expression. When transplanted subretinally into the Pde6brd1 mice, the CRX+ cells settled next to the inner nuclear layer and made connections with the inner neurons of the host retina, and approximately one-third of them expressed the pan cone marker, Arrestin 3, indicating further maturation upon integration into the host retina. Together, our data provide valuable molecular insights into the transcriptional profile of human pluripotent stem cells-derived CRX+ photoreceptor precursors and indicate their usefulness as a source of transplantable cone photoreceptors. Stem Cells 2019;37:609-622.