[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The identification of pathways necessary for photoreceptor and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) function is critical to uncover therapies for blindness. Here we report the discovery of adiponectin receptor 1 (AdipoR1) as a regulator of these cells' functions. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is avidly retained in photoreceptors, while mechanisms controlling DHA uptake and retention are unknown. Thus, we demonstrate that AdipoR1 ablation results in DHA reduction. In situ hybridization reveals photoreceptor and RPE cell AdipoR1 expression, blunted in AdipoR1(-/-) mice. We also find decreased photoreceptor-specific phosphatidylcholine containing very long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and severely attenuated electroretinograms. These changes precede progressive photoreceptor degeneration in AdipoR1(-/-) mice. RPE-rich eyecup cultures from AdipoR1(-/-) reveal impaired DHA uptake. AdipoR1 overexpression in RPE cells enhances DHA uptake, whereas AdipoR1 silencing has the opposite effect. These results establish AdipoR1 as a regulatory switch of DHA uptake, retention, conservation and elongation in photoreceptors and RPE, thus preserving photoreceptor cell integrity.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Nature Communications
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The structure of LX7101, a dual LIM-kinase and ROCK inhibitor for the treatment of ocular hypertension and associated glaucoma, is disclosed. Previously reported LIM kinase inhibitors suffered from poor aqueous stability due to solvolysis of the central urea. Replacement of the urea with a hindered amide resulted in aqueous stable compounds, and addition of solubilizing groups resulted in a set of compounds with good properties for topical dosing in the eye and good efficacy in a mouse model of ocular hypertension. LX7101 was selected as a clinical candidate from this group based on superior efficacy in lowering intraocular pressure and a good safety profile. LX7101 completed IND enabling studies and was tested in a Phase 1 clinical trial in glaucoma patients, where it showed efficacy in lowering intraocular pressure.
No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose:
Protein acetylation is an essential mechanism in regulating transcriptional and inflammatory events. Studies have shown that nonselective histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors can protect the retina from ischemic injury in rats. However, the role of specific HDAC isoforms in retinal degenerative processes remains obscure. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of HDAC2 isoform in a mouse model of ischemic retinal injury.
Localization of HDAC2 in mice retinas was evaluated by immunohistochemical analyses. To investigate whether selective reduction in HDAC2 activity can protect the retina from ischemic injury, Hdac2⁺/⁻ mice were utilized. Electroretinographic (ERG) and morphometric analyses were used to assess retinal function and morphology.
Our results demonstrated that HDAC2 is primarily localized in nuclei in inner nuclear and retinal ganglion cell layers, and HDAC2 activity accounted for approximately 35% of the total activities of HDAC1, 2, 3, and 6 in the retina. In wild-type mice, ERG a- and b-waves from ischemic eyes were significantly reduced when compared to pre-ischemia baseline values. Morphometric examination of these eyes revealed significant degeneration of inner retinal layers. In Hdac2⁺/⁻ mice, ERG a- and b-waves from ischemic eyes were significantly greater than those measured in ischemic eyes from wild-type mice. Morphologic measurements demonstrated that Hdac2⁺/⁻ mice exhibit significantly less retinal degeneration than wild-type mice.
This study demonstrated that suppressing HDAC2 expression can effectively reduce ischemic retinal injury. Our results support the idea that the development of selective HDAC2 inhibitors may provide an efficacious treatment for ischemic retinal injury.
No preview · Article · May 2013 · Investigative ophthalmology & visual science
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In vitro studies have identified LIMK2 as a key downstream effector of Rho GTPase-induced changes in cytoskeletal organization. LIMK2 is phosphorylated and activated by Rho associated coiled-coil kinases (ROCKs) in response to a variety of growth factors. The biochemical targets of LIMK2 belong to a family of actin binding proteins that are potent modulators of actin assembly and disassembly. Although numerous studies have suggested that LIMK2 regulates cell morphology and motility, evidence supportive of these functions in vivo has remained elusive. In this study, a knockout mouse was created that abolished LIMK2 biochemical activity resulting in a profound inhibition of epithelial sheet migration during eyelid development. In the absence of LIMK2, nascent eyelid keratinocytes differentiate and acquire a pre-migratory phenotype but the leading cells fail to nucleate filamentous actin and remain immobile causing an eyes open at birth (EOB) phenotype. The failed nucleation of actin was associated with significant reductions in phosphorylated cofilin, a major LIMK2 biochemical substrate and potent modulator of actin dynamics. These results demonstrate that LIMK2 activity is required for keratinocyte migration in the developing eyelid.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PURPOSE. Mice deficient in the secreted protein Norrin or its receptor Frizzled-4 (FZD4) exhibit incomplete vascularization of the neural retina. However, because of early retinal vascular defects in the knockout models, it has not been possible to study FZD4 contribution in ocular neovascular disease. To further understand the role of this signaling pathway in physiological and pathologic angiogenesis, the authors generated a monoclonal antibody that neutralizes FZD4 function in vivo. METHODS. Antibodies were generated by immunizing Fzd4 knockout mice with the cysteine-rich domain of FZD4. A monoclonal antibody (1.99.25) was discovered that antagonizes Norrin- and WNT3A-induced β-catenin accumulation in vitro. 1.99.25 and an isotype-matched negative control antibody were evaluated in models of developmental retinal angiogenesis, oxygen-induced retinopathy, and retinal angiomatous proliferation. The authors also investigated the role of FZD4 in maintaining the blood-retina barrier in normal adult mice. RESULTS. Administration of 1.99.25 inhibited physiological and pathologic sprouting angiogenesis within the retina. Inhibition of FZD4 in developing retinal vascular networks caused the upregulation of PLVAP, a protein normally associated with fenestrated, immature endothelium in the CNS. In the adult neural retina, the administration of 1.99.25 induced PLVAP expression in the deep capillary bed and enabled extravasation of small and large molecules through the blood-retina barrier. CONCLUSIONS. These results demonstrate that FZD4 is required for physiological and pathologic angiogenesis in the retina and for regulation of retinal endothelial cell differentiation. The authors also show that FZD4 is critical for maintaining the integrity of the mature blood-retina barrier.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glucocorticoids are potent modulators of the immune system and are useful in treating systemic and ocular diseases, but they can increase intraocular pressure (IOP) in susceptible persons. Steroid-induced ocular hypertension resembles several characteristics observed in primary open angle glaucoma (POAG). Elucidating genetic and environmental mechanisms impacting steroid-induced ocular hypertension may provide important insight into pathophysiological drivers of POAG. The purpose of this study was to create a mouse model of steroid-induced ocular hypertension.
Osmotic mini-pumps delivering dexamethasone or PBS were implanted into C57BL/6J-Tyr(c-Brd) × 129S5/SvEvBrd (B6.129) mice. Repeated IOP measurements were obtained over a 4-week study using a tonometer before and after pump implantation. Body weights, complete blood counts (CBCs), and blood pressure were obtained to further characterize the model. Pharmacologic effects of timolol, latanoprost, and Y-39983 were studied in hypertensive mice.
Administration of dexamethasone to B6.129 hybrid mice resulted in significant increases in IOP in most animals compared with baseline or mice treated with PBS. No significant change in IOP was observed in PBS-treated mice. Interestingly, dexamethasone failed to increase IOP in a subset of mice, though steroid delivery was successful as measured using CBC analysis. Moreover, topical agents that lower IOP in normotensive mice also produced significant decreases in mice exhibiting elevated IOP in response to dexamethasone.
Systemic treatment with dexamethasone significantly increased IOP in most genetically heterogeneous mice used in this study. This mouse model should facilitate studies aimed at understanding mechanisms affecting steroid-induced ocular hypertension in humans.
No preview · Article · Dec 2010 · Investigative ophthalmology & visual science
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Large collections of knockout organisms facilitate the elucidation of gene functions. Here we used retroviral insertion or homologous recombination to disrupt 472 genes encoding secreted and membrane proteins in mice, providing a resource for studying a large fraction of this important class of drug target. The knockout mice were subjected to a systematic phenotypic screen designed to uncover alterations in embryonic development, metabolism, the immune system, the nervous system and the cardiovascular system. The majority of knockout lines exhibited altered phenotypes in at least one of these therapeutic areas. To our knowledge, a comprehensive phenotypic assessment of a large number of mouse mutants generated by a gene-specific approach has not been described previously.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The discovery of a pyrrolopyrimidine class of LIM-kinase 2 (LIMK2) inhibitors is reported. These LIMK2 inhibitors show good potency in enzymatic and cellular assays and good selectivity against ROCK. After topical dosing to the eye in a steroid induced mouse model of ocular hypertension, the compounds reduce intraocular pressure to baseline levels. The compounds also increase outflow facility in a pig eye perfusion assay. These results suggest LIMK2 may be an effective target for treating ocular hypertension and associated glaucoma.
No preview · Article · Nov 2009 · Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the genes encoding the Wnt receptor Frizzled-4 (FZD4), coreceptor LRP5, or the ligand Norrin disrupt retinal vascular development and cause ophthalmic diseases. Although Norrin is structurally unrelated to Wnts, it binds FZD4 and activates the canonical Wnt pathway. Here we show that the tetraspanin Tspan12 is expressed in the retinal vasculature, and loss of Tspan12 phenocopies defects seen in Fzd4, Lrp5, and Norrin mutant mice. In addition, Tspan12 genetically interacts with Norrin or Lrp5. Overexpressed TSPAN12 associates with the Norrin-receptor complex and significantly increases Norrin/beta-catenin but not Wnt/beta-catenin signaling, whereas Tspan12 siRNA abolishes transcriptional responses to Norrin but not Wnt3A in retinal endothelial cells. Signaling defects caused by Norrin or FZD4 mutations that are predicted to impair receptor multimerization are rescued by overexpression of TSPAN12. Our data indicate that Norrin multimers and TSPAN12 cooperatively promote multimerization of FZD4 and its associated proteins to elicit physiological levels of signaling.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Goals of this study were to determine if pharmacological or genetic inhibition of Rho-associated coiled coil containing protein kinases (known as ROCK1 and ROCK2) alters intraocular pressure (IOP) in mice.
Micro-cannulation of the anterior chamber was used to measure IOP in wild-type B6.129 hybrid mice following treatment with ROCK inhibitors Y-27632 or Y-39983. For comparative purposes, wild-type mice were also treated with timolol, acetazolamide, pilocarpine, or latanoprost. Mice deficient in either Rock1 or Rock2 were generated by homologous recombination or gene trapping, respectively, and their IOP was determined using identical methods employed in the pharmacology studies.
Treatment of wild-type B6.129 hybrid mice with ROCK inhibitors (Y-27632 and Y-39983) resulted in significant reductions in IOP. The magnitude of IOP reduction observed with topical Y-39983 was comparable to timolol, and exceeded the IOP effects of latanoprost in this study. Pilocarpine had no discernible effect on IOP in mice. Moreover, mice deficient in either Rock1 or Rock2 exhibited a significant decrease in IOP compared to their B6.129 wild-type littermates.
Pharmacological or genetic inhibition of ROCKs results in decreased IOP in mice. The magnitude of IOP reduction is significant as demonstrated with comparative pharmacology using agents that lower IOP in humans. These studies support the ROCK pathway as a therapeutic target for treating ocular hypertension.
No preview · Article · Jul 2009 · Journal of ocular pharmacology and therapeutics: the official journal of the Association for Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As part of a high-throughput mutagenesis and phenotyping process designed to discover novel drug targets, we generated and characterized mice with a targeted mutation in Slc24a5, a gene encoding a putative cation exchanger. Upon macroscopic examination, Slc24a5-/- mice were viable, fertile, and indistinguishable by coat color from their heterozygous and wild-type litter mates. Ophthalmoscopic examination revealed diffuse retinal hypopigmentation, and a histologic examination of the eye confirmed the presence of moderate-to-marked hypopigmentation of the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE), ciliary body, and iris pigment epithelium (IPE). Hypopigmentation was most severe in the anterior layer cells of the IPE, where melanosomes were smaller, paler, and more indistinct than those of the anterior stroma and posterior IPE. The pigment granules of the posterior IPE appeared to be nearly as dark as those in stromal melanocytes; however, both cell layers were thinner and paler than corresponding layers in wild-type mice. Ultrastructural analysis of the RPE, IPE, and ciliary body pigmented cells confirmed that mutation of Slc24a5 results in marked hypopigmentation of melanosomes in optic cup-derived pigmented neuroepithelium in the eyes. Milder reductions in melanosome size and pigmentation were noted in neural crest-derived melanocytes. The severe hypopigmentation of neuroepithelium-derived cells in the eyes resulted in a novel form of ocular albinism in Slc24a5-/- mice. Our findings suggest that SLC24A5 may be a candidate gene for some forms of ocular albinism and for the BEY1/EYCL2 locus previously associated with central brown eye color in humans.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mucolipidosis II and III (ML II; ML III) are lysosomal storage diseases characterized by a deficiency in GlcNAc-1-phosphotransferase. Patients with ML III have retinal disease, but in cases of the more clinically severe ML II, human ophthalmic studies are limited. In this study, retinal function and overall disease were assessed in mice lacking GNPTAB, the gene mutated in patients with ML II.
Mice deficient in GNPTAB were generated from Omnibank, a sequence-tagged gene-trap library of >270,000 mouse embryonic stem cell clones as part of a large-scale effort to knock out, phenotypically screen, and thereby validate pharmaceutically tractable genes for drug development. Routine diagnostics, expression analysis, histopathology, and ERG analyses were performed on mice lacking GNPTAB. In addition, measurements of serum lysosomal enzymes were performed.
Severe retinal degeneration was observed in mice deficient in GNPTAB. Heterozygous mice were phenotypically normal and in situ hybridization showed expression across the neural retina. Compared to wild-type mice, the GNPTAB homozygous mice were smaller, had elevated levels of serum lysosomal enzymes, exhibited cartilage defects, and had cytoplasmic alterations in secretory cells of several exocrine glands.
Mice deficient in GNPTAB exhibited severe retinal degeneration. Additional features observed in patients with ML II, a lysosomal storage disease, are also present in these mice. Understanding underlying mechanisms of this gene in the eye will increase its therapeutic potential for the treatment of retinal diseases.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During sprouting angiogenesis, groups of endothelial cells (ECs) migrate together in units called sprouts. In this study, we demonstrate that the vascular-specific secreted factor EGFL7 regulates the proper spatial organization of ECs within each sprout and influences their collective movement. In the homozygous Egfl7-knockout mice, vascular development is delayed in many organs despite normal EC proliferation, and 50% of the knockout embryos die in utero. ECs in the mutant vasculatures form abnormal aggregates and the vascular basement membrane marker collagen IV is mislocalized, suggesting that ECs fail to recognize the proper spatial position of their neighbors. Although the migratory ability of individual ECs in isolation is not affected by the loss of EGFL7, the aberrant spatial organization of ECs in the mutant tissues decreases their collective movement. Using in vitro and in vivo analyses, we showed that EGFL7 is a component of the interstitial extracellular matrix deposited on the basal sides of sprouts, a location suitable for conveying positional information to neighboring ECs. Taken together, we propose that EGFL7 defines the optimal path of EC movement by assuring the correct positioning of each EC in a nascent sprout.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The sonic hedgehog (Shh) pathway is activated in approximately 30% of human medulloblastoma resulting in increased expression of downstream target genes. In about half of these cases, this has been shown to be a consequence of mutations in regulatory genes within the pathway, including Ptc1, Smo, and Sufu. However, for some tumors, no mutations have been detected in known pathway genes. This suggests that either mutations in other genes promote tumorigenesis or that epigenetic alterations increase pathway activity in these tumors. Here, we report that 3% to 4% of mice lacking either one or both functional copies of Cxcr6 develop medulloblastoma. Although CXCR6 is not known to be involved in Shh signaling, tumors derived from Cxcr6 mutant mice expressed Shh pathway target genes including Gli1, Gli2, Ptc2, and Sfrp1, indicating elevated pathway activity. Interestingly, the level of Ptc1 expression was decreased in tumor cells although two normal copies of Ptc1 were retained. This implies that reduced CXCR6 function leads to suppression of Ptc1 thereby increasing Smoothened function and promoting tumorigenesis. We used a direct transplant model to test the sensitivity of medulloblastoma arising in Cxcr6 mutant mice to a small-molecule inhibitor of Smoothened (HhAntag). We found that transplanted tumors were dramatically inhibited in mice treated for only 4 days with HhAntag. These findings suggest that HhAntag may be effective against tumors lacking mutations in known Shh pathway genes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of the prostaglandin F2 alpha analog, latanoprost, on the intraocular pressure (IOP) in rodent eyes. Rodents have been increasingly used in glaucoma research; however, conflicting results regarding the actions of prostaglandins on rodent IOP have been published. In Wistar rats, a single dose of latanoprost (60 ng) produced a biphasic change in IOP: an initial rise in pressure (2.1+/-0.7 mmHg) peaking at 2 h, followed by a prolonged hypotension with a peak reduction in IOP (5.2+/-0.7 mmHg) at 5 h. Both the hyper and hypotensive actions of latanoprost were dose-related with ED50 values of 108 and 5.2 ng, respectively. These responses were antagonized by pretreatment with 4% pilocarpine. In Brown Norway rats and C57BL/6 mice, a single dose of latanoprost also produced a biphasic response in IOP with an initial rise in pressure peaking between 1 and 2 h, followed by prolonged hypotension from 4 to 8 h. These results demonstrate that in rodents the IOP response to topical latanoprost is characterized by an initial hypertension followed by a prolonged hypotension. This prolonged hypotension is similar to that measured in monkeys and humans. Taken together, these results support the idea that rodents can serve as in vivo models to study the actions of ocular hypotensive agents, such as prostaglandins.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2007 · Experimental Eye Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: ADP-ribosylation factor-like 3 (Arl3) is a member of a small subfamily of G-proteins involved in membrane-associated vesicular and intracellular trafficking processes. Genetic studies in Leishmania have shown that the Arl3 homolog is essential for flagellum biogenesis. Mutations in a related human family member, Arl6, result in Bardet-Biedl syndrome in humans, which is characterized by genital, renal, and retinal abnormalities, obesity, and learning deficits. As part of our large-scale phenotypic screen, mice deficient for the Arl3 gene were generated and analyzed. Arl3 (-/-) mice were born at a sub-Mendelian ratio, were small and sickly, and had markedly swollen abdomens. These mutants failed to thrive, and all died by 3 weeks of age. The (-/-) mice exhibited abnormal development of renal, hepatic, and pancreatic epithelial tubule structures, which is characteristic of the renal-hepatic-pancreatic dysplasia found in autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease. Absence of Arl3 was associated with abnormal epithelial cell proliferation and cyst formation. Moreover, mice lacking Arl3 exhibited photoreceptor degeneration as early as postnatal day 14. These results are the first to implicate Arl3 in a ciliary disease affecting the kidney, biliary tract, pancreas, and retina.
Preview · Article · May 2006 · American Journal Of Pathology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article describes an open-access gene expression database analyzed for more than 2,000 genes on mouse nervous system tissue in the coronal, sagittal, and transverse orientation representing multiple developmental ages.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glutamate release from photoreceptor terminals is controlled by voltage-dependent calcium channels (VDCCs). In humans, mutations in the Cacna1f gene, encoding the alpha1F subunit of VDCCs, underlie the incomplete form of X-linked congenital stationary night blindness (CSNB2). These mutations impair synaptic transmission from rod and cone photoreceptors to bipolar cells. Here, we report anatomical and functional characterizations of the retina in the nob2 (no b-wave 2) mouse, a naturally occurring mutant caused by a null mutation in Cacna1f. Not surprisingly, the b-waves of both the light- and dark-adapted electroretinogram are abnormal in nob2 mice. The outer plexiform layer (OPL) is disorganized, with extension of ectopic neurites through the outer nuclear layer that originate from rod bipolar and horizontal cells, but not from hyperpolarizing bipolar cells. These ectopic neurites continue to express mGluR6, which is frequently associated with profiles that label with the presynaptic marker Ribeye, indicating potential points of ectopic synapse formation. However, the morphology of the presynaptic Ribeye-positive profiles is abnormal. While cone pedicles are present their morphology also appears compromised. Characterizations of visual responses in retinal ganglion cells in vivo, under photopic conditions, demonstrate that ON-center cells have a reduced dynamic range, although their basic center-surround organization is retained; no alteration in the responses of OFF-center cells was evident. These results indicate that nob2 mice are a valuable model in which to explore the pathophysiological mechanisms associated with Cacna1f mutations causing CSNB2, and the subsequent effects on visual information processing. Further, the nob2 mouse represents a model system in which to define the signals that guide synapse formation and/or maintenance in the OPL.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2005 · Visual Neuroscience
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Secreted and transmembrane proteins provide critical functions in the signaling networks essential for neurogenesis. We used a genetic signal sequence gene trap approach to isolate 189 genes expressed during development in e16.5 whole head, e16.5 hippocampus and e14.5 cerebellum. Gene ontology programs were used to classify the genes into respective biological processes. Four major classes of biological processes known to be important during development were identified: cell communication, cell physiology processes, metabolism and morphogenesis. We used in situ hybridization to determine the temporal and spatial patterns of gene expression in the developing brain using this set of probes. The results demonstrate that gene expression patterns can highlight potential gene functions in specific brain regions. We propose that combining bioinformatics with the gene expression pattern is an effective strategy to identify genes that may play critical roles during brain development.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2005 · Molecular Brain Research