[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Unlike mammals, zebrafish can regenerate a damaged retina. This remarkable regenerative response is mediated by Müller glia (MG) that undergo a reprogramming event that drives their proliferation and the generation of multipotent progenitors for retinal repair. The mechanisms that drive MG reprogramming are poorly understood. Here, we report that Leptin and Gp130-coupled receptors, acting via a Jak/Stat signaling pathway, stimulate MG reprogramming and progenitor formation in the injured retina. Importantly, we find that ascl1a gene expression, which drives MG reprogramming in fish and mammals, is regulated in a Jak/Stat-dependent manner and requires consensus Stat-binding sites for injury-dependent activation. Finally, we identify cytokines that are induced by retinal injury and exhibit a remarkable synergy in their ability to activate Jak/Stat signaling and MG reprogramming in the uninjured retina. Our study not only furthers our understanding of retina regeneration in zebrafish but also suggests new strategies for awakening retina regeneration in mammals.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Müller glia (MG) in the zebrafish retina respond to retinal injury by generating multipotent progenitors for retinal repair. Here, we show that Insulin, Igf-1, and fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling components are necessary for retina regeneration. Interestingly, these factors synergize with each other and with heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF) and cytokines to stimulate MG to generate multipotent progenitors in the uninjured retina. These factors act by stimulating a core set of signaling cascades (Mapk/Erk, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase [PI3K], β-catenin, and pStat3) that are also shared with retinal injury and exhibit a remarkable amount of crosstalk. Our studies suggest that MG both produce and respond to factors that stimulate MG reprogramming and proliferation following retinal injury. The identification of a core set of regeneration-associated signaling pathways required for MG reprogramming not only furthers our understanding of retina regeneration in fish but also suggests targets for enhancing 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.
[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.