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A regulatory sequence from the retinoid X receptor gamma gene directs expression to horizontal cells and photoreceptors in the embryonic chicken retina
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, Developmental Neuroscience.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, Developmental Neuroscience.
2016 (English)In: Molecular Vision, ISSN 1090-0535, E-ISSN 1090-0535, Vol. 22, p. 1405-1420Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

PURPOSE: Combining techniques of episomal vector gene-specific Cre expression and genomic integration using the piggyBac transposon system enables studies of gene expression-specific cell lineage tracing in the chicken retina. In this work, we aimed to target the retinal horizontal cell progenitors. METHODS: A 208 bp gene regulatory sequence from the chicken retinoid X receptor gammagene (RXRgamma208) was used to drive Cre expression. RXRgamma is expressed in progenitors and photoreceptors during development. The vector was combined with a piggyBac "donor" vector containing a floxed STOP sequence followed by enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP), as well as a piggyBac helper vector for efficient integration into the host cell genome. The vectors were introduced into the embryonic chicken retina with in ovo electroporation. Tissue electroporation targets specific developmental time points and in specific structures. RESULTS: Cells that drove Cre expression from the regulatory RXRgamma208 sequence excised the floxed STOP-sequence and expressed GFP. The approach generated a stable lineage with robust expression of GFP in retinal cells that have activated transcription from the RXRgamma208 sequence. Furthermore, GFP was expressed in cells that express horizontal or photoreceptor markers when electroporation was performed between developmental stages 22 and 28. Electroporation of a stage 12 optic cup gave multiple cell types in accordance with RXRgamma gene expression in the early retina. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we describe an easy, cost-effective, and time-efficient method for testing regulatory sequences in general. More specifically, our results open up the possibility for further studies of the RXRgamma-gene regulatory network governing the formation of photoreceptor and horizontal cells. In addition, the method presents approaches to target the expression of effector genes, such as regulators of cell fate or cell cycle progression, to these cells and their progenitor.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 22, p. 1405-1420
National Category
Developmental Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-313804ISI: 000393909400001PubMedID: 28003731OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-313804DiVA, id: diva2:1068202
Funder
Swedish Research Council, MH521.2013.3346Swedish Childhood Cancer FoundationAvailable from: 2017-01-24 Created: 2017-01-24 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Keeping up with retinal photoreceptors and horizontal cells: Labelling and mapping of cells in the normal and diseased embryonic chicken retina
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Keeping up with retinal photoreceptors and horizontal cells: Labelling and mapping of cells in the normal and diseased embryonic chicken retina
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The childhood eye cancer retinoblastoma originates from the retina and its development is initiated while the foetus is in the uterus. Retinoblastoma has a reported incidence of 1 in 15-18 000 live births, and approximately 90% of all patients are diagnosed before the age of 5. The occurrence of retinoblastoma is usually detected by the parents and the most frequent symptoms are leukocoria (white pupillary reflex), strabismus (squinting) or if the child complains of visual problems. Retinoblastoma is diagnosed by examination under anaesthesia and documentation by RetCam. It is treated with various cytostatic agents, or by laser. If the treatment is unsuccessful, or there is a risk that the tumour cells will spread and form metastases, the eye is removed.

Previous studies have indicated that the cell type from which the tumour arises, the cell-of-origin, may be the cone photoreceptors and/or their immediate interneuron, the horizontal cells. Determining the cell-of-origin for retinoblastoma is an important goal, however, understanding the molecular mechanisms that distinguish the photoreceptors and the horizontal cells from the other retinal cells may prove just as important for understanding this disease.

The aim of my project has been to develop, optimise and validate methods to label, map and target expression to photoreceptors and horizontal cells in the chicken embryonic retina. We have successfully established several methods that test the expression pattern of conserved, regulatory DNA sequences, and have performed short- and long-term expression of various genes that have been reported to be involved in cell cycle regulation and cell fate determination. One of my most important findings was that a region from the RXRγ gene allowed us to specifically target the photoreceptors and horizontal cells. Our previous knowledge, together with the newly established tools, puts us an important step closer towards understanding the development and behaviour of the retinal photoreceptors and horizontal cells, however, further studies are of course needed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2017. p. 62
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 1302
Keywords
Chicken, electroporation, horizontal cells, photoreceptors, retina, piggyBac
National Category
Neurosciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-315655 (URN)978-91-554-9825-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-04-07, B21, BMC, Husargatan 3, Uppsala, 09:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-03-10 Created: 2017-02-17 Last updated: 2018-01-13

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Blixt, MariaHallböök, Finn

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