[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Müller glia (MG) dedifferentiation into a cycling population of multipotent progenitors is crucial to zebrafish retina regeneration. The mechanisms underlying MG dedifferentiation are unknown. Here we report that heparin-binding epidermal-like growth factor (HB-EGF) is rapidly induced in MG residing at the injury site and that pro-HB-EGF ectodomain shedding is necessary for retina regeneration. Remarkably, HB-EGF stimulates the formation of multipotent MG-derived progenitors in the uninjured retina. We show that HB-EGF mediates its effects via an EGFR/MAPK signal transduction cascade that regulates the expression of regeneration-associated genes, like ascl1a and pax6(b). We also uncover an HB-EGF/Ascl1a/Notch/hb-egf(a)-signaling loop that helps define the zone of injury-responsive MG. Finally, we show that HB-EGF acts upstream of the Wnt/β-catenin-signaling cascade that controls progenitor proliferation. These data provide a link between extracellular signaling and regeneration-associated gene expression in the injured retina and suggest strategies for stimulating retina regeneration in mammals.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Cre-loxP recombination system is widely used as a genetic tool to achieve conditional gene expression and for lineage tracing. Though extensively used in mice, this technology has only recently been applied to zebrafish. Here we describe Cre-loxP methodology for conditional expression of transgenes in zebrafish and their use in lineage tracing Müller glia as they undergo cellular reprogramming and proliferation to repair damaged retinal circuitry following mechanical injury. This methodology can be used for conditional gene expression and lineage tracing at any stage of development and in any cell type.