The mammalian retina contains circadian clocks that regulate multiple aspects of retinal function by driving circadian rhythms of gene expression, photoreceptor outer segment membrane turnover, and visual sensitivity. Previous work has shown that melatonin acting via g protein- coupled melatonin receptors (MTRs) plays a key role in the regulation of a wide variety of retinal circadian rhythms and melatonin is involved in the modulation of retinal cell viability during aging. In the present application we will further investigate the effect of MTR removal on the retina by using melatonin proficient mice (C3H-f+/+) mouse in which the two different types of g- protein coupled melatonin receptors (MTRs) have been removed. These new animal models developed in our laboratory provides a unique and powerful tool with which to investigate the role of melatonin and MTRs in the retina. Our preliminary data suggest that melatonin action within the some retinal cells is likely to be mediated via the formation of melatonin receptor 1 and 2 heteromers (MTRh). The present application comprises three specific aims.
In specific aim 1, we will determine whether melatonin receptor type 1 and melatonin receptor type 2 form heteromers in retinal cells.
In Specific aim 2, we will investigate the role of melatonin and its associated receptors in the regulation of the daily rhythms in disc shedding in melatonin proficient mice and melatonin receptor knock-out mice. Finally, in specific aim 3 we will determine whether administration of exogenous melatonin increase the sensitivity of the retina to light-induced damage via activation of MTRs and we will dissect the signaling pathways activate by melatonin in the photoreceptor and RPE cells. In our research, we will use a wide array of new and technologically advanced techniques, such as quantitative real time Q-RT- PCR, Bioluminescence Resonance Energy Transfert (BRET), laser capture dissecting microscopy, and microarray analysis. Significance. The characterization of the action of melatonin and its associated receptors may provide new and important insights on the mechanisms of action of melatonin in the eye and more in general in the rest of the body. The experiments proposed in our application will generate data that may lead to the development of new therapeutic tools to treat or prevent disease states associated with dysfunction of the melatonergic system.
The characterization of the action of melatonin and its associated receptors may provide new and important insights on the mechanisms of action of melatonin in the eye and more in general in the rest of the body. The experiments proposed in our application will generate data that may lead to the development of new therapeutic tools to treat or prevent disease states associated with dysfunction of the melatonergic system.
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