Müller glia are the resident radial glia in the vertebrate retina. The response of mammalian Müller glia to retinal damage often results in a glial scar and no functional replacement of lost neurons. Adult zebrafish Müller glia, in contrast, are considered tissue-specific stem cells that can self-renew and generate neurogenic progenitors to regenerate all retinal neurons after damage. Here, we demonstrate that regulation of TGFβ signaling by the corepressors Tgif1 and Six3b is critical for the proliferative response to photoreceptor destruction in the adult zebrafish retina. When function of these corepressors is disrupted, Müller glia and their progeny proliferate less, leading to a significant reduction in photoreceptor regeneration. Tgif1 expression and regulation of TGFβ signaling are implicated in the function of several types of stem cells, but this is the first demonstration that this regulatory network is necessary for regeneration of neurons. GLIA 2013.
"It is not yet clear whether gdf6a serves a role in cone specification, differentiation and/or survival, but one avenue of investigation will be modulating gdf6a signaling during proliferation and cone photoreceptor differentiation as replicated in our regeneration model . Pursuing gdf6a effects in the regenerative context is especially intriguing since recent work shows that the proliferative response in Müller glia requires regulation of TGFβ signaling . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Functional vision restoration is within reach via stem cell therapy, but one of the largest obstacles is the derivation of colour-sensitive cone photoreceptors that are required for high-acuity daytime vision. To enhance progress made using nocturnal murine models, we instead utilize cone-rich zebrafish and herein investigate relationships between gdf6a and tbx2b in cone photoreceptor development. Growth/differentiation factor 6a (gdf6a), a bone morphogenetic protein family ligand, is an emerging factor in photoreceptor degenerative diseases. The T-box transcription factor tbx2b is required to specify UV cone photoreceptor fate instead of rod photoreceptor fate. Interactions between these factors in cone development would be unanticipated, considering the discrete phenotypes in their respective mutants. However, gdf6a positively modulates the abundance of tbx2b transcript during early eye morphogenesis, and we extended this conclusion to later stages of retinal development comprising the times when photoreceptors differentiate. Despite this, gdf6a-/- larvae possess a normal relative number of UV cones and instead present with a low abundance of blue cone photoreceptors, approximately half that of siblings (p<0.001), supporting a differential role for gdf6a amongst the spectral subtypes of cone photoreceptors. Further, gdf6a-/- larvae from breeding of compound heterozygous gdf6a+/-;tbx2b+/- mutants exhibit the recessive lots-of-rods phenotype (which also shows a paucity of UV cones) at significantly elevated rates (44% or 48% for each of two tbx2b alleles, χ2 p≤0.007 for each compared to expected Mendelian 25%). Thus the gdf6a-/- background sensitizes fish such that the recessive lots-of-rods phenotype can appear in heterozygous tbx2b+/- fish. Overall, this work establishes a novel link between tbx2b and gdf6a in determining photoreceptor fates, defining the nexus of an intricate pathway influencing the abundance of cone spectral subtypes and specifying rod vs. cone photoreceptors. Understanding this interaction is a necessary step in the refinement of stem cell-based restoration of daytime vision in humans.
PLoS ONE 03/2014; 9(3):e92991. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0092991 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Müller glia function as retinal stem cells in adult zebrafish. In response to loss of retinal neurons, Müller glia partially dedifferentiate, re-express neuroepithelial markers and re-enter the cell cycle. We show that the immunoglobulin superfamily adhesion molecule Alcama is a novel marker of multipotent retinal stem cells, including injury-induced Müller glia, and that each Müller glial cell divides asymmetrically only once to produce an Alcama-negative, proliferating retinal progenitor. The initial mitotic division of Müller glia involves interkinetic nuclear migration, but mitosis of retinal progenitors occurs in situ. Rapidly dividing retinal progenitors form neurogenic clusters tightly associated with Alcama/N-cadherin-labeled Müller glial radial processes. Genetic suppression of N-cadherin function interferes with basal migration of retinal progenitors and subsequent regeneration of HuC/D(+) inner retinal neurons.
Development 10/2013; 140(22). DOI:10.1242/dev.090738 · 6.46 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adult zebrafish generate new neurons in the brain and retina throughout life. Growth-related neurogenesis allows a vigorous regenerative response to damage, and fish can regenerate retinal neurons, including photoreceptors, and restore functional vision following photic, chemical, or mechanical destruction of the retina. Müller glial cells in fish function as radial-glial-like neural stem cells. During adult growth, Müller glial nuclei undergo sporadic, asymmetric, self-renewing mitotic divisions in the inner nuclear layer to generate a rod progenitor that migrates along the radial fiber of the Müller glia into the outer nuclear layer, proliferates, and differentiates exclusively into rod photoreceptors. When retinal neurons are destroyed, Müller glia in the immediate vicinity of the damage partially and transiently dedifferentiate, re-express retinal progenitor and stem cell markers, re-enter the cell cycle, undergo interkinetic nuclear migration (characteristic of neuroepithelial cells), and divide once in an asymmetric, self-renewing division to generate a retinal progenitor. This daughter cell proliferates rapidly to form a compact neurogenic cluster surrounding the Müller glia; these multipotent retinal progenitors then migrate along the radial fiber to the appropriate lamina to replace missing retinal neurons. Some aspects of the injury-response in fish Müller glia resemble gliosis as observed in mammals, and mammalian Müller glia exhibit some neurogenic properties, indicative of a latent ability to regenerate retinal neurons. Understanding the specific properties of fish Müller glia that facilitate their robust capacity to generate retinal neurons will inform and inspire new clinical approaches for treating blindness and visual loss with regenerative medicine.
Progress in Retinal and Eye Research 05/2014; 40:94-123. DOI:10.1016/j.preteyeres.2013.12.007 · 8.73 Impact Factor
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