Induction of ectopic retina-like tissue by transgenic expression of neurogenin

Academic Article

Abstract

  • © 2015 Yan et al. Degeneration of retinal neurons is an underlying cause of several major types of blinding diseases, and effective therapies remain to be developed. The suppositive strategy of repopulating a degenerative retina with new cells generated onsite faces serious challenges, because the mammalian retina seems to lack the ability to regenerate itself or replace its lost neurons. We investigated the possibility of using a transcriptional factor with proneural activities to reprogram ocular tissue with regenerative capability to give rise to retinal cells. Transgenic mice were generated with DNA constructs that targeted the expression in the retinal pigment epithelium of proneural gene neurogenin1 from the promoter of Bestrophin1, or neurogenin3 from RPE65 promoter. Here we report the presence of ectopic retina-like tissue in some of the transgenic mice, young and aged. The ectopic retina-like tissue contained cells positive for photoreceptor proteins Crx, recoverin, red opsin, and rhodopsin, and cells positive for proteins that label other types of retinal neurons, including AP2α and Pax6 for amacrine cells, Otx2 for bipolar cells, and Brn3A for ganglion cells. The retina-like tissue often co-existed with darkly pigmented tissue positive for RPE proteins: cytokeratin 18, Otx2, and RPE65. The ectopic retina-like tissue was detected in the subretinal space, including two retinae co-existing in the same eye, and/or in the optic nerve or in the vicinity of the optic nerve head. On rare occasions, it was detected in the choroid and in the vicinity of the ciliary body. The presence of ectopic retina-like tissue in the transgenic mouse supports the possibility of inducing retinal regeneration in the mammalian eyes through gene-directed reprograming.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Yan RT; He L; Zhan W; Wang SZ
  • Volume

  • 10
  • Issue

  • 1