Tribbles homolog 3-mediated targeting the AKT/mTOR axis in mice with retinal degeneration

Academic Article


  • Various retinal degenerative disorders manifest in alterations of the AKT/mTOR axis. Despite this, consensus on the therapeutic targeting of mTOR in degenerating retinas has not yet been achieved. Therefore, we investigated the role of AKT/mTOR signaling in rd16 retinas, in which we restored the AKT/mTOR axis by genetic ablation of pseudokinase TRB3, known to inhibit phosphorylation of AKT and mTOR. First, we found that TRB3 ablation resulted in preservation of photoreceptor function in degenerating retinas. Then, we learned that the mTOR downstream cellular pathways involved in the homeostasis of photoreceptors were also reprogrammed in rd16 TRB3−/− retinas. Thus, the level of inactivated translational repressor p-4E-BP1 was significantly increased in these mice along with the restoration of translational rate. Moreover, in rd16 mice manifesting decline in p-mTOR at P15, we found elevated expression of Beclin-1 and ATG5 autophagy genes. Thus, these mice showed impaired autophagy flux measured as an increase in LC3 conversion and p62 accumulation. In addition, the RFP-EGFP-LC3 transgene expression in rd16 retinas resulted in statistically fewer numbers of red puncta in photoreceptors, suggesting impaired late autophagic vacuoles. In contrast, TRIB3 ablation in these mice resulted in improved autophagy flux. The restoration of translation rate and the boost in autophagosome formation occurred concomitantly with an increase in total Ub and rhodopsin protein levels and the elevation of E3 ligase Parkin1. We propose that TRB3 may retard retinal degeneration and be a promising therapeutic target to treat various retinal degenerative disorders.
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    Author List

  • Saltykova IV; Elahi A; Pitale PM; Gorbatyuk OS; Athar M; Gorbatyuk MS
  • Volume

  • 12
  • Issue

  • 7