The long-range objective of the proposed research is to determine the cellular and molecular events that lead to the differentiation of specific cell types in the vertebrate retina. We continue our emphasis on the roles of extracellular factors in regulating photoreceptor diversity and differentiation, as the work of the current funding period has demonstrated the significance of these factors not only for photoreceptor differentiation, but also for photoreceptor fate and for photoreceptor maintenance. Our work has provided in vivo evidence that the extracellular factor retinoic acid (RA) influences rod vs. cone neurogenesis when supplied to late retinal progenitors. In addition, RA selectively regulates the differentiation of specific photoreceptor populations when supplied later in retinal development. These regulatory functions are distinct from those of the extracellular factor Hedgehog (Hh), which is required for differentiation of all photoreceptor types, and which is required throughout the lifespan for cone photoreceptor maintenance. In the proposed award period, we will build on these studies through the evaluation of specific extracellular factors on photoreceptor fate and differentiation, examining cell-selective effects on networks of genes involved in rod and cone determination, differentiation, and in photoreceptor pathology. We apply a combination of genetic, molecular, pharmacological, histological, computational, and bioinformatics tools to the zebrafish model. We will test the following hypotheses:1) that RA and Notch signaling control rod vs. cone fate;2) that the microenvironmental factors RA and Hh selectively manipulate cell-specific gene networks during photoreceptor differentiation;and 3) that limiting quantities of Hh signaling throughout the lifespan will engage a photoreceptor damage response.

Public Health Relevance

Visual function requires the collaborative activities of a diverse, but properly arranged collection of specialized cells. Our goal is to understand the mechanisms that underlie the development and survival of photoreceptor cells, which are required for visual function, and which are lost in many visual degenerative diseases. Our findings will have applications for the development of photoreceptor replacement strategies and photoreceptor survival therapies, as well as for the prevention and treatment of developmental abnormalities of the retina.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01EY012146-14
Application #
8485611
Study Section
Biology and Diseases of the Posterior Eye Study Section (BDPE)
Program Officer
Neuhold, Lisa
Project Start
1998-06-01
Project End
2014-06-30
Budget Start
2013-07-01
Budget End
2014-06-30
Support Year
14
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
$318,467
Indirect Cost
$90,467
Name
University of Idaho
Department
Biology
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
075746271
City
Moscow
State
ID
Country
United States
Zip Code
83844
Patel, Jagdish Suresh; Brown, Celeste J; Ytreberg, F Marty et al. (2018) Predicting peak spectral sensitivities of vertebrate cone visual pigments using atomistic molecular simulations. PLoS Comput Biol 14:e1005974
McGinn, Timothy E; Mitchell, Diana M; Meighan, Peter C et al. (2018) Restoration of Dendritic Complexity, Functional Connectivity, and Diversity of Regenerated Retinal Bipolar Neurons in Adult Zebrafish. J Neurosci 38:120-136
Sun, Chi; Galicia, Carlos; Stenkamp, Deborah L (2018) Transcripts within rod photoreceptors of the Zebrafish retina. BMC Genomics 19:127
Sun, Chi; Mitchell, Diana M; Stenkamp, Deborah L (2018) Isolation of photoreceptors from mature, developing, and regenerated zebrafish retinas, and of microglia/macrophages from regenerating zebrafish retinas. Exp Eye Res 177:130-144
Sukeena, Joshua M; Galicia, Carlos A; Wilson, Jacob D et al. (2016) Characterization and Evolution of the Spotted Gar Retina. J Exp Zool B Mol Dev Evol 326:403-421
Stenkamp, Deborah L (2015) Development of the Vertebrate Eye and Retina. Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci 134:397-414
Mitchell, Diana M; Stevens, Craig B; Frey, Ruth A et al. (2015) Retinoic Acid Signaling Regulates Differential Expression of the Tandemly-Duplicated Long Wavelength-Sensitive Cone Opsin Genes in Zebrafish. PLoS Genet 11:e1005483
Dhakal, Susov; Stevens, Craig B; Sebbagh, Meyrav et al. (2015) Abnormal retinal development in Cloche mutant zebrafish. Dev Dyn 244:1439-1455
Kashyap, Bhavani; Pegorsch, Laurel; Frey, Ruth A et al. (2014) Eye-specific gene expression following embryonic ethanol exposure in zebrafish: roles for heat shock factor 1. Reprod Toxicol 43:111-24
Sherpa, Tshering; Lankford, Tyler; McGinn, Tim E et al. (2014) Retinal regeneration is facilitated by the presence of surviving neurons. Dev Neurobiol 74:851-76

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