Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
  • Publication
    Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor as a Treatment Option for Retinal Degeneration
    This review discusses the therapeutic potential of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) for retinal degeneration. BDNF, nerve growth factor (NGF), neurotrophin 3 (NT-3) and NT-4/NT-5 belong to the neurotrophin family. These neuronal modulators activate a common receptor and a specific tropomyosin-related kinase (Trk) receptor. BDNF was identified as a photoreceptor protectant in models of retinal degeneration as early as 1992. However, development of effective therapeutics that exploit this pathway has been difficult due to challenges in sustaining therapeutic levels in the retina.
      181Scopus© Citations 12
  • Publication
    Enhancing Understanding of the Visual Cycle by Applying CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Editing in Zebrafish
    During the vertebrate visual cycle, all-trans-retinal is exported from photoreceptors to the adjacent RPE or Müller glia wherein 11-cis-retinal is regenerated. The 11-cis chromophore is returned to photoreceptors, forming light-sensitive visual pigments with opsin GPCRs. Dysfunction of this process perturbs phototransduction because functional visual pigment cannot be generated. Mutations in visual cycle genes can result in monogenic inherited forms of blindness. Though key enzymatic processes are well characterized, questions remain as to the physiological role of visual cycle proteins in different retinal cell types, functional domains of these proteins in retinoid biochemistry and in vivo pathogenesis of disease mutations. Significant progress is needed to develop effective and accessible treatments for inherited blindness arising from mutations in visual cycle genes. Here, we review opportunities to apply gene editing technology to two crucial visual cycle components, RPE65 and CRALBP. Expressed exclusively in the human RPE, RPE65 enzymatically converts retinyl esters into 11-cis retinal. CRALBP is an 11-cis-retinal binding protein expressed in human RPE and Muller glia. Loss-of-function mutations in either protein results in autosomal recessive forms of blindness. Modeling these human conditions using RPE65 or CRALBP murine knockout models have enhanced our understanding of their biochemical function, associated disease pathogenesis and development of therapeutics. However, rod-dominated murine retinae provide a challenge to assess cone function. The cone-rich zebrafish model is amenable to cost-effective maintenance of a variety of strains. Interestingly, gene duplication in zebrafish resulted in three Rpe65 and two Cralbp isoforms with differential temporal and spatial expression patterns. Functional investigations of zebrafish Rpe65 and Cralbp were restricted to gene knockdown with morpholino oligonucleotides. However, transient silencing, off-target effects and discrepancies between knockdown and knockout models, highlight a need for more comprehensive alternatives for functional genomics. CRISPR/Cas9 in zebrafish has emerged as a formidable technology enabling targeted gene knockout, knock-in, activation, or silencing to single base-pair resolution. Effective, targeted gene editing by CRISPR/Cas9 in zebrafish enables unprecedented opportunities to create genetic research models. This review will discuss existing knowledge gaps regarding RPE65 and CRALBP. We explore the benefits of CRISPR/Cas9 to establish innovative zebrafish models to enhance knowledge of the visual cycle.
      328Scopus© Citations 7
  • Publication
    Non-photopic and photopic visual cycles differentially regulate immediate, early and late-phases of cone photoreceptor-mediated vision
    Cone photoreceptors in the retina enable vision over a wide range of light intensities. However, the processes enabling cone vision in bright light (i.e. photopic vision) are not adequately understood. Chromophore regeneration of cone photopigments may require the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and/or retinal Müller glia. In the RPE, isomerization of all-trans-retinyl esters (atRE) to 11-cis-retinol (11cROL) is mediated by the retinoid isomerohydrolase Rpe65. A putative alternative retinoid isomerase, dihydroceramide desaturase-1 (DES1), is expressed in RPE and Müller cells. The retinol-isomerase activities of Rpe65 and Des1 are inhibited by emixustat and fenretinide, respectively. Here, we tested the effects of these visual cycle inhibitors on immediate, early and late phases of cone photopic vision. In zebrafish larvae raised under cyclic light conditions, fenretinide impaired late cone photopic vision, whereas emixustat-treated zebrafish unexpectedly had normal vision. In contrast, emixustat-treated larvae raised under extensive dark-adaption displayed significantly attenuated immediate photopic vision concomitant with significantly reduced 11-cis-retinaldehyde (11cRAL). Following 30 minutes of light, early photopic vision recovered, despite 11cRAL levels remaining significantly reduced. Defects in immediate cone photopic vision were rescued in emixustat- or fenretinide-treated larvae following exogenous 9-cis-retinaldehyde (9cRAL) supplementation. Genetic knockout of Des1 (degs1) or retinaldehyde-binding protein 1b (rlbp1b) did not eliminate photopic vision in zebrafish. Our findings define molecular and temporal requirements of the non-photopic or photopic visual cycles for mediating vision in bright light.
      179Scopus© Citations 12