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1.  Transplantation of BDNF-Secreting Mesenchymal Stem Cells Provides Neuroprotection in Chronically Hypertensive Rat Eyes 
The authors examined the neuroprotective effect of BDNF-secreting mesenchymal stem cells on retina and optic nerve function and structure in hypertensive eyes.
To evaluate the ability of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) engineered to produce and secrete brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) to protect retinal function and structure after intravitreal transplantation in a rat model of chronic ocular hypertension (COH).
COH was induced by laser cauterization of trabecular meshwork and episcleral veins in rat eyes. COH eyes received an intravitreal transplant of MSCs engineered to express BDNF and green fluorescent protein (BDNF-MSCs) or just GFP (GFP-MSCs). Computerized pupillometry and electroretinography (ERG) were performed to assess optic nerve and retinal function. Quantification of optic nerve damage was performed by counting retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and evaluating optic nerve cross-sections.
After transplantation into COH eyes, BDNF-MSCs preserved significantly more retina and optic nerve function than GFP-MSC–treated eyes when pupil light reflex (PLR) and ERG function were evaluated. PLR analysis showed significantly better function (P = 0.03) in BDNF-MSC–treated eyes (operated/control ratio = 63.00% ± 11.39%) than GFP-MSC–treated eyes (operated/control ratio = 31.81% ± 9.63%) at 42 days after surgery. The BDNF-MSC–transplanted eyes also displayed a greater level of RGC preservation than eyes that received the GFP-MSCs only (RGC cell counts: BDNF-MSC–treated COH eyes, 112.2 ± 19.39 cells/section; GFP-MSC–treated COH eyes, 52.21 ± 11.54 cells/section; P = 0.01).
The authors have demonstrated that lentiviral-transduced BDNF-producing MSCs can survive in eyes with chronic hypertension and can provide retina and optic nerve functional and structural protection. Transplantation of BDNF-producing stem cells may be a viable treatment strategy for glaucoma.
PMCID: PMC3175938  PMID: 21498611
2.  Characterization of the retinal proteome during rod photoreceptor genesis 
BMC Research Notes  2010;3:25.
The process of rod photoreceptor genesis, cell fate determination and differentiation is complex and multi-factorial. Previous studies have defined a model of photoreceptor differentiation that relies on intrinsic changes within the presumptive photoreceptor cells as well as changes in surrounding tissue that are extrinsic to the cell. We have used a proteomics approach to identify proteins that are dynamically expressed in the mouse retina during rod genesis and differentiation.
A series of six developmental ages from E13 to P5 were used to define changes in retinal protein expression during rod photoreceptor genesis and early differentiation. Retinal proteins were separated by isoelectric focus point and molecular weight. Gels were analyzed for changes in protein spot intensity across developmental time. Protein spots that peaked in expression at E17, P0 and P5 were picked from gels for identification. There were 239 spots that were picked for identification based on their dynamic expression during the developmental period of maximal rod photoreceptor genesis and differentiation. Of the 239 spots, 60 of them were reliably identified and represented a single protein. Ten proteins were represented by multiple spots, suggesting they were post-translationally modified. Of the 42 unique dynamically expressed proteins identified, 16 had been previously reported to be associated with the developing retina.
Our results represent the first proteomics study of the developing mouse retina that includes prenatal development. We identified 26 dynamically expressed proteins in the developing mouse retina whose expression had not been previously associated with retinal development.
PMCID: PMC2843734  PMID: 20181029
3.  Murine Guanylate-binding Protein: Incomplete Geranylgeranyl Isoprenoid Modification of an Interferon-γ–inducible Guanosine Triphosphate-binding Protein 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2000;11(7):2191-2200.
Farnesylation of Ras proteins is necessary for transforming activity. Although farnesyl transferase inhibitors show promise as anticancer agents, prenylation of the most commonly mutated Ras isoform, K-Ras4B, is difficult to prevent because K-Ras4B can be alternatively modified with geranylgeranyl (C20). Little is known of the mechanisms that produce incomplete or inappropriate prenylation. Among non-Ras proteins with CaaX motifs, murine guanylate-binding protein (mGBP1) was conspicuous for its unusually low incorporation of [3H]mevalonate. Possible problems in cellular isoprenoid metabolism or prenyl transferase activity were investigated, but none that caused this defect was identified, implying that the poor labeling actually represented incomplete prenylation of mGBP1 itself. Mutagenesis indicated that the last 18 residues of mGBP1 severely limited C20 incorporation but, surprisingly, were compatible with farnesyl modification. Features leading to the expression of mutant GBPs with partial isoprenoid modification were identified. The results demonstrate that it is possible to alter a protein's prenylation state in a living cell so that graded effects of isoprenoid on function can be studied. The C20-selective impairment in prenylation also identifies mGBP1 as an important model for the study of substrate/geranylgeranyl transferase I interactions.
PMCID: PMC14912  PMID: 10888661

Results 1-3 (3)