PMCC PMCC

Search tips
Search criteria

Advanced
Results 1-25 (2213)
 

Clipboard (0)
None

Select a Filter Below

Journals
Year of Publication
more »
1.  A novel H395R mutation in MKKS/BBS6 causes retinitis pigmentosa and polydactyly without other findings of Bardet-Biedl or McKusick-Kaufman syndrome 
Molecular Vision  2016;22:73-81.
Purpose
To identify the causative mutation in two siblings from a consanguineous family in India with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and polydactyly without other findings of Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS). We also performed functional characterization of the mutant protein to explore its role in this limited form of BBS.
Methods
The siblings underwent a thorough ophthalmological examination, including retinal optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging, and an extensive physical examination with abdominal ultrasonography to characterize the disease phenotype. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) using a panel targeting retinal degeneration genes was performed on genomic DNA samples from the siblings and parents. Upon identification of the causative mutation, functional characterization was accomplished by performing protein–protein interaction studies in human embryonic kidney (HEK-293T) and human adult retinal pigmented epithelium (ARPE-19) cells.
Results
The two siblings showed signs of RP and polydactyly. The patients did not have truncal obesity, renal anomalies, hydrometrocolpos, congenital heart disease, or overt cognitive defects. NGS identified a homozygous c.1184A>G mutation in the MKKS/BBS6 gene in both patients resulting in a p.H395R substitution in the MKKS/BBS6 protein. This mutant protein decreased the interaction of MKKS/BBS6 with BBS12 but did so to a different extent in the HEK-293T versus ARPE-19 cells. Nonetheless, the effect of the H395R variant on disrupting interactions with BBS12 was not as profound as other reported MKKS/BBS6 mutations associated with syndromic RP.
Conclusions
We identified a novel H395R substitution in MKKS/BBS6 that results in a unique phenotype of only RP and polydactyly. Our observations reaffirm the notion that mutations in MKKS/BBS6 cause phenotypic heterogeneity and do not always result in classic MKKS or BBS findings.
PMCID: PMC4734152  PMID: 26900326
2.  EPHA2 MUTATIONS CONTRIBUTE TO CONGENITAL CATARACT THROUGH DIVERSE MECHANISMS 
Molecular Vision  2016;22:18-30.
Purpose
Congenital cataract is a leading cause of childhood blindness. Mutations in the EPHA2 gene are one of the causes of inherited congenital cataract. The EPHA2 gene encodes a membrane-bound tyrosine kinase receptor and is highly expressed in epithelial cells, including in the ocular lens. Signaling through the EPHA2 receptor plays a pivotal role in epithelial cell homeostasis. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of congenital cataract causing mutations in the EPHA2 gene on the encoded protein in epithelial cells.
Methods
The effect of five disease-causing mutations, p.P584L (c.1751C>T), p.T940I (c.2819C>T), p.D942fsXC71 (c.2826–9G>A), p.A959T (c.2875G>A), and p.V972GfsX39 (c.2915_2916delTG), on localization of the protein was examined in two in vitro epithelial cell culture systems: Madin-Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) and human colorectal adenocarcinoma (Caco-2) epithelial cells. Myc-tagged mutant constructs were generated by polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based mutagenesis. The Myc-tagged wild-type construct was used as a control. The Myc-tagged wild-type and mutant proteins were ectopically expressed and detected by immunofluorescence labeling.
Results
Two of the mutations, p.T940I and p.D942fsXC71, located within the cytoplasmic sterile-α-motif (SAM) domain of EPHA2, led to mis-localization of the protein to the perinuclear space and co-localization with the cis-golgi apparatus, indicating sub-organellar/cellular retention of the mutant proteins. The mutant proteins carrying the remaining three mutations, similar to the wild-type EPHA2, localized to the cell membrane.
Conclusions
Mis-localization of two of the mutant proteins in epithelial cells suggests that some disease-causing mutations in EPHA2 likely affect lens epithelial cell homeostasis and contribute to cataract. This study suggests that mutations in EPHA2 contribute to congenital cataract through diverse mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC4734147  PMID: 26900323
3.  PCR analysis for assessment of bacterial bioburden in orthokeratology lens cases 
Molecular Vision  2016;22:1-8.
Purpose
To develop a PCR gel analysis method for assessing the bacterial bioburden in orthokeratology contact lens (OK) case fluid determined by culture.
Methods
A prospective study with the participation of 41 OK wearers (20 girls, 21 boys) was performed. The mean OK-wearing experience was 3.5±1.9 years. PCR was used to assess the bacterial bioburden (colony-forming units per milliliter) of OK after removal and soaking in the storage case for 6 h. The signal intensity of the PCR bands was analyzed after grayscale image transformation. The difference (cPCR-d) and ratio (cPCR-r) between a PCR signal and its background were used as two standardized indices of PCR signals. The association between the two indices of the PCR signals and the bacterial bioburden determined by culture were analyzed with Pearson’s correlation coefficient (r) and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) plots.
Results
At least one microbe was isolated from the OK lens case from 38 of the 41 subjects. Both cPCR-d and cPCR-r showed strong correlations with the bacterial bioburden (r>0.7, p<0.0001). ROC analysis enabled good determination of the cutoff values for the two PCR indices with acceptable sensitivity and specificity (78−89%) to assess the degree of bacterial contamination.
Conclusions
The high microbial contamination rate of the OK lens cases revealed the general inappropriate lens care by OK wearers. PCR analysis provides an alternative and rapid method for assessing the bacterial bioburden of OK lens cases, and these results should serve as a warning to OK wearers to follow appropriate lens care procedures to prevent infection.
PMCID: PMC4734148  PMID: 26900321
4.  Effects of blue light on the circadian system and eye physiology 
Molecular Vision  2016;22:61-72.
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have been used to provide illumination in industrial and commercial environments. LEDs are also used in TVs, computers, smart phones, and tablets. Although the light emitted by most LEDs appears white, LEDs have peak emission in the blue light range (400–490 nm). The accumulating experimental evidence has indicated that exposure to blue light can affect many physiologic functions, and it can be used to treat circadian and sleep dysfunctions. However, blue light can also induce photoreceptor damage. Thus, it is important to consider the spectral output of LED-based light sources to minimize the danger that may be associated with blue light exposure. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of the effects of blue light on the regulation of physiologic functions and the possible effects of blue light exposure on ocular health.
PMCID: PMC4734149  PMID: 26900325
5.  RNA-seq analysis of impact of PNN on gene expression and alternative splicing in corneal epithelial cells 
Molecular Vision  2016;22:40-60.
Purpose
The specialized corneal epithelium requires differentiated properties, specific for its role at the anterior surface of the eye. Thus, tight maintenance of the differentiated qualities of the corneal epithelial is essential. Pinin (PNN) is an exon junction component (EJC) that has dramatic implications for corneal epithelial cell differentiation and may act as a stabilizer of the corneal epithelial cell phenotype. Our studies revealed that PNN is involved in transcriptional repression complexes and spliceosomal complexes, placing PNN at the fulcrum between chromatin and mRNA splicing. Transcriptome analysis of PNN-knockdown cells revealed clear and reproducible alterations in transcript profiles and splicing patterns of a subset of genes that would significantly impact the epithelial cell phenotype. We further investigated PNN’s role in the regulation of gene expression and alternative splicing (AS) in a corneal epithelial context.
Methods
Human corneal epithelial (HCET) cells that carry the doxycycline-inducible PNN-knockdown shRNA vector were used to perform RNA-seq to determine differential gene expression and differential AS events.
Results
Multiple genes and AS events were identified as differentially expressed between PNN-knockdown and control cells. Genes upregulated by PNN knockdown included a large proportion of genes that are associated with enhanced cell migration and ECM remodeling processes, such as MMPs, ADAMs, HAS2, LAMA3, CXCRs, and UNC5C. Genes downregulated in response to PNN depletion included IGFBP5, FGD3, FGFR2, PAX6, RARG, and SOX10. AS events in PNN-knockdown cells compared to control cells were also more likely to be detected, and upregulated. In particular, 60% of exon-skipping events, detected in only one condition, were detected in PNN-knockdown cells and of the shared exon-skipping events, 92% of those differentially expressed were more frequent in the PNN knockdown.
Conclusions
These data suggest that lowering of PNN levels in epithelial cells results in dramatic transformation in the number and composition of splicing variants and that PNN plays a crucial role in the selection of which RNA isoforms differentiating cells produce. Many of the genes affected by PNN knockdown are known to affect the epithelial phenotype. This window into the complexity of RNA splicing in the corneal epithelium implies that PNN exerts broad influence over the regulation and maintenance of the epithelial cell phenotype.
PMCID: PMC4734150  PMID: 26900324
6.  Scleral fibroblast response to experimental glaucoma in mice 
Molecular Vision  2016;22:82-99.
Purpose
To study the detailed cellular and molecular changes in the mouse sclera subjected to experimental glaucoma.
Methods
Three strains of mice underwent experimental bead-injection glaucoma and were euthanized at 3 days and 1, 3, and 6 weeks. Scleral protein expression was analyzed with liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) using 16O/18O labeling for quantification in 1- and 6-week tissues. Sclera protein samples were also analyzed with immunoblotting with specific antibodies to selected proteins. The proportion of proliferating scleral fibroblasts was quantified with Ki67 and 4’,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) labeling, and selected proteins were studied with immunohistochemistry.
Results
Proteomic analysis showed increases in molecules involved in integrin-linked kinase signaling and actin cytoskeleton signaling pathways at 1 and 6 weeks after experimental glaucoma. The peripapillary scleral region had more fibroblasts than equatorial sclera (p=0.001, n=217, multivariable regression models). There was a sixfold increase in proliferating fibroblasts in the experimental glaucoma sclera at 1 week and a threefold rise at 3 and 6 weeks (p=0.0005, univariate regression). Immunoblots confirmed increases for myosin, spectrin, and actinin at 1 week after glaucoma. Thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1), HINT1, vimentin, actinin, and α-smooth muscle actin were increased according to immunohistochemistry.
Conclusions
Scleral fibroblasts in experimental mouse glaucoma show increases in actin cytoskeleton and integrin-related signaling, increases in cell division, and features compatible with myofibroblast transition.
PMCID: PMC4734151  PMID: 26900327
7.  CFI-rs7356506 polymorphisms associated with Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome 
Molecular Vision  2016;22:9-17.
Purpose
Complement factor I (CFI) plays an important role in complement activation pathways and is known to affect the development of uveitis. The present study was performed to investigate the existence of an association between CFI genetic polymorphisms and Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada (VKH) syndrome.
Methods
A total of 100 patients diagnosed with VKH syndrome and 300 healthy controls were recruited for the study. Two milliliters of peripheral blood were collected in a sterile anticoagulative tube. CFI-rs7356506 polymorphisms were genotyped using Sequenom MassARRAY technology. Allele and genotype frequencies were compared between patients and controls using a χ2 test. The analyses were stratified for recurrent status, complicated cataract status, and steroid-sensitive status.
Results
No significant association was found between CFI-rs7356506 polymorphisms and VKH syndrome. However, patients with recurrent VKH syndrome had lower frequencies of the G allele and GG homozygosity in CFI-rs7356506 when compared to the controls (p=0.016, odds ratio [OR]=0.429, 95% confidence interval [CI]=0.212–0.871; p=0.014, OR=0.364, 95% CI=0.158–0.837, respectively). Furthermore, there were significant decreases in the frequencies of the G allele and GG homozygosity in CFI-rs7356506 in patients with VKH syndrome with complicated cataract compared to the controls (p<0.001, OR=0.357, 95% CI=0.197–0.648; p<0.001, OR=0.273, 95% CI=0.135–0.551, respectively). Nevertheless, no significant association with patients with VKH syndrome in steroid-sensitive statuses was detected for CFI-rs7356506 polymorphisms.
Conclusions
Our results indicate that CFI polymorphisms are not significantly associated with VKH syndrome; nevertheless, we identified a trend for the association of CFI-7356506 with VKH syndrome that depends on the recurrent status and the complicated cataract status but not on the steroid-sensitive status.
PMCID: PMC4734154  PMID: 26900322
8.  TNF-α mediates choroidal neovascularization by upregulating VEGF expression in RPE through ROS-dependent β-catenin activation 
Molecular Vision  2016;22:116-128.
Purpose
Inflammation, oxidative stress, and angiogenesis have been proposed to interact in age-related macular degeneration. It has been postulated that external stimuli that cause oxidative stress can increase production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that the inflammatory cytokine, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), contributed to choroidal neovascularization (CNV) by upregulating VEGF in RPE through intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS)-dependent signaling and sought to understand the mechanisms involved.
Methods
In a murine laser-induced CNV model, 7 days after laser treatment and intravitreal neutralizing mouse TNF-α antibody or isotype immunoglobulin G (IgG) control, the following measurements were made: 1) TNF-α protein and VEGF protein in RPE/choroids with western blot, 2) CNV volume in RPE/choroidal flatmounts, and 3) semiquantification of oxidized phospholipids stained with E06 antibody within CNV with immunohistochemistry (IHC). In cultured human RPE cells treated with TNF-α or PBS control, 1) ROS generation was measured using the 2’,7’-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate (DCFDA) fluorescence assay, and 2) NOX4 protein and VEGF protein or mRNA were measured with western blot or quantitative real-time PCR in cells pretreated with apocynin or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-oxidase (NADPH) inhibitor, VAS 2870, or transfected with p22phox siRNA, and each was compared to its appropriate control. Western blots of phosphorylated p65 (p-p65), total p65 and β-actin, and quantitative real-time PCR of VEGF mRNA were measured in human RPE cells treated with TNF-α and pretreatment with the nuclear factor kappa B inhibitor, Bay 11–7082 or control. Western blots of β-catenin, VEGF, and p22phox and coimmunoprecipitation of β-catenin and T-cell transcriptional factor were performed in human RPE cells treated with TNF-α following pretreatment with β-catenin transcriptional inhibitors, XAV939 or JW67, or transfection with p22phox siRNA and compared to appropriate controls.
Results
Compared to the non-lasered control, TNF-α and VEGF protein were increased in the RPE/choroids in a murine laser-induced CNV model (p<0.05). An intravitreal neutralizing antibody to mouse TNF-α reduced CNV volume, and VEGF protein in the RPE/choroids (p<0.01) and oxidized phospholipids within CNV compared to IgG control (p<0.05). In cultured RPE cells and compared to controls, TNF-α induced ROS generation and increased activation of NOX4, an isoform of NADPH oxidase; both were prevented by pretreatment with the apocynin or VAS2870 or knockdown of p22phox, a subunit of NADPH oxidase. TNF-α treatment increased VEGF expression (p<0.001) and the formation of a transcriptional complex of β-catenin and T-cell transcriptional factor; both were prevented by pretreatment with apocynin or knockdown of p22phox. Inhibition of β-catenin by XAV939, but not the nuclear factor kappa B inhibitor, Bay 11–7082, prevented TNF-α-induced VEGF upregulation.
Conclusions
Our results support the thinking that TNF-α contributes to CNV by upregulating VEGF production in RPE cells through ROS-dependent activation of β-catenin signaling. These results provide mechanisms of crosstalk between inflammatory mediator, TNF-α, and ROS in RPE cells.
PMCID: PMC4736754  PMID: 26900328
9.  Involvement of TonEBP/NFAT5 in osmoadaptative response of human retinal pigmented epithelial cells to hyperosmolar stress 
Molecular Vision  2016;22:100-115.
Purpose: Macular edema, a frequently encountered complication of diabetic retinopathy (DR), results from alterations of the blood retinal barrier (BRB) and leads to modifications of the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) functions. Osmolar changes of the surrounding medium could be responsible for modifications of the RPE functions leading to disturbance of retinal homeostasis. The expression, activation and function of the key hyperosmolar response factor Tonicity Enhancer Binding Protein (TonEBP also called nuclear factor of activated T-cell 5 - NFTA5) was investigated in ARPE-19 cells, derived from human RPE, in response to hyperosmolar stimulation.
Methods: ARPE-19 cells were exposed to hyperosmolar medium. TonEBP mRNA and protein levels were quantified by qRT-PCR and semi-quantitative Western blot. TonEBP nuclear translocation was investigated by immunofluorescence. TonEBP transactivation activity was measured using a reported plasmid containing TonEBP binding sites.
Results: In response to hyperosmolar stimulation of ARPE-19 cells, a dose-dependent increase in TonEBP mRNA and protein levels, as well as TonEBP nuclear translocation were observed. TonEBP transactivation activity was further demonstrated using a reporter plasmid containing TonEBP binding sites. A dominant negative form of TonEBP abolished NaCl-induced increase in TonEBP transactivation activity, and inhibited the increase of the target genes aldose reductase and sodium-dependent taurine transporter mRNA levels. SB203580, an inhibitor of two of the p38 protein kinase’s isoforms (p38α and p38β) inhibited the TonEBP nuclear translocation and transactivation activity in ARPE-19 cells exposed to hyperosmolar stimulation.
Conclusions: Our data demonstrates the involvement of TonEBP in the mechanisms responsible for osmoadaptation to hyperosmolar stress in RPE cells. Given the emerging role of TonEBP in different pathological pathways, these data open new perspectives for the analysis of the mechanisms involved in the modification of functions of the RPE during macular edema.
PMCID: PMC4745349  PMID: 26912969
10.  Lychee flower extract inhibits proliferation and viral replication of HSV-1-infected corneal epithelial cells 
Molecular Vision  2016;22:129-137.
Purpose
Herpes simplex virus type I (HSV-1) is capable of causing a wide array of human ocular diseases. Herpes simplex virus keratitis (HSK)-induced cytopathogenicity together with the chronic immune-inflammatory reaction can trigger stromal scarring, thinning, and neovascularization which may lead to permanent vision impairment. Lychee flower extract (LFE) is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Therefore, in this study, we investigated the mechanism of the Statens Seruminstitut rabbit corneal (SIRC) epithelial cells infected by HSV-1 and examined the antiviral capabilities of LFE.
Methods
SIRC cells were pretreated with different concentrations of LFE (0.2, 0.1, and 0.05 μg/ml) and then infected with 1 MOI of HSV-1 for 24 h. The cell viability or morphology was evaluated in this study. In addition, the supernatants and cell extracts were collected for Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK), plaque assay, and western blotting.
Results
We found that HSV-1-induced cell proliferation is regulated through inhibition of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and p70s6k phosphorylation in response to the LFE. In addition, the LFE enhanced the autophagy protein expression (Beclin-1 and light chain 3, LC3) and decreased the viral titers.
Conclusions
These results showed the antiviral capabilities and the protective effects of LFE. Taken together, our data indicate that LFE has potential as an anti-HSK (herpes simplex keratitis) for HSV-1 infection.
PMCID: PMC4757453  PMID: 26937165
11.  Corneal recovery in a rabbit limbal stem cell deficiency model by autologous grafts of tertiary outgrowths from cultivated limbal biopsy explants 
Molecular Vision  2016;22:138-149.
Purpose
To determine the corneal regenerative capacity of sequentially generated primary, secondary, and tertiary limbal explant outgrowths in a limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD) surgical model.
Methods
Two-millimeter-long limbal shallow biopsies were surgically excised from the upper quadrant of the right eye of rabbits and set on preserved amniotic membrane for explant culture. After the generation of primary outgrowth, the biopsies were sequentially transferred to new amniotic membrane to generate secondary and then tertiary outgrowths. Eighteen rabbits were subjected to a 360° limbal peritomy extending into the scleral zone and combined with superficial keratectomy of the corneal periphery and thorough mechanical debridement of the central cornea in their left eye. Right eye outgrowths, six of each generation, were engrafted on the ocular surface. Clinical outcomes (neovascularization, corneal clarity, and corneal fluorescein staining) were graded after 6 months. Post-mortem corneas were compared with histology, immunochemistry for p63 and Krt3, ABCG2-dependent dye exclusion, and capacity for outgrowths in explant culture.
Results
Immunohistology and western blot of the outgrowths for p63 and Krt3 indicated no differences in expression between the primary and tertiary outgrowths for these two markers of growth and differentiation. Clinically, all rabbits treated with amniotic membrane alone developed severe LSCD. Most rabbits grafted with cell outgrowths from all three outgrowth generations achieved stable (>6 months) recovery of the ocular surface. There were partial failures of grafts performed with two secondary and tertiary outgrowths. However, Kruskal–Wallis statistical analysis of the clinical scores yielded no significant difference between the three groups (p=0.524). Histology showed full anatomic recovery of grafts made with primary and tertiary outgrowths. Krt3 and p63 expression throughout the whole limbal corneal epithelium with primary or tertiary outgrowths was not distinguishable from each other. The percentage of dye-excluding cells present within this zone and the capacity of the explant epithelial outgrowth of the regenerated peripheral corneal zone were also on par with those of the donor corneas. The Krt3-negative cells that characterize the basal epithelial layer of the normal limbus could not be found in any regenerated cornea from the primary to tertiary outgrowths.
Conclusions
Our results demonstrate that in rabbits post-primary explant outgrowths retain the capacity for LSCD recovery found in primary explants.
PMCID: PMC4757454  PMID: 26937166
12.  Exome sequencing identified null mutations in LOXL3 associated with early-onset high myopia 
Molecular Vision  2016;22:161-167.
Purpose
To identify null mutations in novel genes associated with early-onset high myopia using whole exome sequencing.
Methods
Null mutations, including homozygous and compound heterozygous truncations, were selected from whole exome sequencing data for 298 probands with early-onset high myopia. These data were compared with those of 507 probands with other forms of eye diseases. Null mutations specific to early-onset high myopia were considered potential candidates. Candidate mutations were confirmed with Sanger sequencing and were subsequently evaluated in available family members and 480 healthy controls.
Results
A homozygous frameshift mutation (c.39dup; p.L14Afs*21) and a compound heterozygous frameshift mutation (c.39dup; p.L14Afs*21 and c.594delG; p.Q199Kfs*35) in LOXL3 were separately identified in two of the 298 probands with early-onset high myopia. These mutations were confirmed with Sanger sequencing and were not detected in 1,974 alleles of the controls from the same region (507 individuals with other conditions and 480 healthy control individuals). These two probands were singleton cases, and their parents had only heterozygous mutations. A homozygous missense mutation in LOXL3 was recently reported in a consanguineous family with Stickler syndrome.
Conclusions
Our results suggest that null mutations in LOXL3 are likely associated with autosomal recessive early-onset high myopia. LOXL3 is a potential candidate gene for high myopia, but this possibility should be confirmed in additional studies. LOXL3 null mutations in human beings are not lethal, providing a phenotype contrary to that in mice.
PMCID: PMC4764606  PMID: 26957899
13.  A unique lineage gives rise to the meibomian gland 
Molecular Vision  2016;22:168-176.
Purpose
To identify the lineage that contributes to the morphogenesis of the meibomian gland.
Methods
To examine which cell lineage gives rise to the meibomian gland, the expression of Pax6 as well as that of various cytokeratin markers, including keratin 14 (Krt14), Krt15, Krt4, and Krt10, was examined with immunofluorescent staining of C57BL/6J mouse eyelids from P2 to P11 pups and adult mice.
Results
Pax6 was localized to the cytoplasm within the acinar region of the meibomian glands during morphogenesis but was absent in the fully developed gland. Keratin 14 was expressed throughout the gland at all stages whereas keratin 15 was absent at all stages. Keratin 4, a marker of mucosal lineage, was present throughout the gland and was colocalized with keratin 10 (epidermal lineage marker) in the developing duct at P4. This colocalization region decreased as the gland developed becoming restricted to the central duct near the opening to the acini in the fully developed gland.
Conclusions
We identified a unique cell lineage that expresses markers characteristic of mucosal and epidermal epithelia during meibomian gland morphogenesis. This unique group of cells was located in the central duct with a concentration near the ductule orifice. The expression of these cells reduced during meibomian gland morphogenesis and may play a role in the development and homeostasis of the gland.
PMCID: PMC4764607  PMID: 26957900
14.  Next-generation sequencing-based comprehensive molecular analysis of 43 Japanese patients with cone and cone-rod dystrophies 
Molecular Vision  2016;22:150-160.
Purpose
To investigate the efficacy of targeted exome sequencing for mutational screening of Japanese patients with cone dystrophy (CD) or cone-rod dystrophy (CRD).
Methods
DNA samples from 43 Japanese patients with CD or CRD were sequenced using an exome-sequencing panel targeting all 193 known inherited eye disease genes and next-generation sequencing methodologies. Subsequently, candidate variants were screened using systematic data analyses, and their potential pathogenicity was assessed using distinct filtering approaches, which included the frequency of the variants in normal populations, in silico prediction tools, and cosegregation.
Results
Causative mutations were detected in 12 patients with CD or CRD (27.9%). In total, 14 distinct mutations were identified in the genes ABCA4, CDHR1, CRB1, CRX, GUCY2D, KCNV2, PROM1, PRPH2, and RDH5, including four novel mutations, c.3050+1G>A in ABCA4, c.386A>G in CDHR1, c.652+1_652+4del in CRB1, and c.454G>A in KCNV2. Moreover, a putative pathogenic mutation was identified in RGS9BP, a gene recognized as the source of bradyopsia.
Conclusions
Targeted exome sequencing effectively identified causative mutations in Japanese patients with CD or CRD. The results confirmed the heterogeneity of the genes responsible for CD and CRD in Japanese populations, as well as the efficacy of targeted exome sequencing-based screening of patients with inherited retinal degeneration.
PMCID: PMC4764614  PMID: 26957898
15.  Analysis of tear inflammatory mediators: A comparison between the microarray and Luminex methods 
Molecular Vision  2016;22:177-188.
Purpose
Inflammatory mediators have been shown to modulate dry eye (DE) disease and may correlate with disease severity, yet the methods used and the associated findings vary significantly in the literature. The goal of this research was to compare two methods, the quantitative microarray and the magnetic bead assay, for detecting cytokine levels in extracted tear samples across three subject groups.
Methods
Tears were collected from Schirmer strips of the right and left eyes of 20 soft contact lens wearers (CL), 20 normal non-contact lens wearers (NOR), and 20 DE subjects and stored at −80 °C. Tear proteins were eluted and precipitated using ammonium bicarbonate and acetone. The right and left eye samples were combined for each subject. Following the Bradford protein quantitation method, 10 µg of total protein was used for each of the two analyses, Quantibody® Human Inflammation Array 3 (RayBiotech) and High Sensitivity Human Cytokine Magnetic Bead Kit (Millipore). The assays were run using the GenePix® 4000B Scanner (Molecular Devices) or the Luminex MagPix® plate reader (Luminex), respectively. The data were then compared between the two instruments and the three subject groups
Results
Of the 40 proteins on the Quantibody® microarray, seven had average expression levels above the lower limit of detection: ICAM-1, MCP-1, MIG, MCSF, TIMP-1, TIMP-2, and TNF-RI. Significant differences in expression levels (p<0.05) were detected between the CL and DE groups for MCSF, TIMP-1, and TNF R1, between the NOR and DE groups for ICAM-1, and between the CL and NOR groups for ICAM-1, MCP-1, MCSF, TIMP-1, TIMP-2, and TNF-R1 when using the Student t test. Of the 13 proteins tested with Luminex, IL-1β, IL-4, IL-6, IL-7, and IL-8 had expression levels above the minimum detectable level, and these were most often detected using the Luminex assay compared to the Quantibody® microarray. Contrarily, IL-2, IL-12, IL-13, INF-g, and GM-CSF were detected more frequently using the Quantibody® microarray than the Luminex assay. Significant differences in expression levels (p<0.05) were only detected between the CL and DE groups for IL-7 and IL-8 and between the CL and NOR subjects for IL-8.
Conclusions
In addition to detecting more significant differences between the subject groups, the Quantibody® microarray detected more inflammatory cytokines in total within the range of detection than the Luminex assay. Differences were also noted in the types of cytokines each assay could detect from the limited protein samples. Both methods offer advantages and disadvantages; therefore, these factors should be considered when determining the appropriate assay for analyzing tear protein samples.
PMCID: PMC4767412  PMID: 26957901
16.  Iris transillumination defect and its gene modulators do not correlate with intraocular pressure in the BXD family of mice 
Molecular Vision  2016;22:224-233.
Purpose
Intraocular pressure (IOP) is currently the only treatable phenotype associated with primary open angle glaucoma (POAG). Our group has developed the BXD murine panel for identifying genetic modulators of the various endophenotypes of glaucoma, including pigment dispersion, IOP, and retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death. The BXD family consists of the inbred progeny of crosses between the C57BL/6J (B6) strain and the glaucoma-prone DBA/2J (D2) strain that has mutations in Tyrp1 and Gpnmb. The role of these genes in the iris transillumination defect (TID) has been well documented; however, their possible roles in modulating IOP during glaucoma onset and progression are yet not well understood.
Methods
We used the IOP data sets and the Eye M430v2 (Sep08) RMA Database available on GeneNetwork to determine whether mutations in Tyrp1 and Gpnmb or TIDs have a direct role in the elevation of IOP in the BXD family. We also determined whether TIDs and IOP are coregulated.
Results
As expected, Tyrp1 and Gpnmb expression levels showed a high degree of correlation with TIDs. However, there was no correlation between the expression of these genes and IOP. Moreover, unlike TIDs, IOP did not map to either the Tyrp1 or Gpnmb locus. Although the Tyrp1 and Gpnmb mutations in BXD strains are a prerequisite for the development of TID, they are not required for or associated with elevated IOP.
Conclusions
Genetic modulators of IOP thus may be independently identified using the full array of BXD mice without concern for the presence of TIDs or mutations in Typr1 and/or Gpnmb.
PMCID: PMC4783577  PMID: 27011731
17.  Targeting of exon VI-skipping human RGR-opsin to the plasma membrane of pigment epithelium and co-localization with terminal complement complex C5b-9 
Molecular Vision  2016;22:213-223.
Purpose
Rare mutations in the human RGR gene lead to autosomal recessive retinitis pigmentosa or dominantly inherited peripapillary choroidal atrophy. Here, we analyze a common exon-skipping isoform of the human retinal G protein-coupled receptor opsin (RGR-d) to determine differences in subcellular targeting between RGR-d and normal RGR and possible association with abnormal traits in the human eye.
Methods
The terminal complement complex (C5b-9), vitronectin, CD46, syntaxin-4, and RGR-d were analyzed in human eye tissue from young and old donors or in cultured fetal RPE cells by means of immunofluorescent labeling and high-resolution confocal microscopy or immunohistochemical staining.
Results
We observed that RGR-d is targeted to the basolateral plasma membrane of the RPE. RGR-d, but not normal RGR, is expressed in cultured human fetal RPE cells in which the protein also trafficks to the plasma membrane. In young donors, the amount of RGR-d protein in the basolateral plasma membrane was much higher than that in the RPE cells of older subjects. In older donor eyes, the level of immunoreactive RGR-d within RPE cells was often low or undetectable, and immunostaining of RGR-d was consistently strongest in extracellular deposits in Bruch’s membrane. Double immunofluorescent labeling in the basal deposits revealed significant aggregate and small punctate co-localization of RGR-d with C5b-9 and vitronectin.
Conclusions
RGR-d may escape endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation and in contrast to full-length RGR, traffick to the basolateral plasma membrane, particularly in younger subjects. RGR-d in the plasma membrane indicates that the protein is properly folded, as misfolded membrane proteins cannot otherwise sort to the plasma membrane. The close association of extracellular RGR-d with both vitronectin and C5b-9 suggests a potential role of RGR-d-containing deposits in complement activation.
PMCID: PMC4783578  PMID: 27011730
18.  Regulation of signaling events involved in the pathophysiology of neovascular AMD 
Molecular Vision  2016;22:189-202.
Neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a complex disease in which an individual’s genetic predisposition is affected by aging and environmental stresses, which trigger signaling pathways involving inflammation, oxidation, and/or angiogenesis in the RPE cells and choroidal endothelial cells (CECs), to lead to vision loss from choroidal neovascularization. Antiangiogenic therapies have greatly improved clinical outcomes in the last decade; however, vision improves in less than half of patients treated for neovascular AMD, and treatments remain inadequate for atrophic AMD. Many studies focus on genetic predisposition or the association of outcomes in trials of human neovascular AMD but are unable to evaluate the effects between different cell types involved in AMD and the signaling events that take place to cause pathologic biologic events. This manuscript complements other reviews in that it describes what is known generally in human AMD studies and clinical trials testing methods to inhibit vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF inhibitors) and presents pathologic signaling events that develop in two important cell types, the RPE cells and the CECs, when stimulated by stresses or placed into conditions similar to what is currently understood to occur in neovascular AMD. This manuscript complements other reviews by discussing signaling events that are activated by cell–cell or cell–matrix interactions. These considerations are particularly important when considering growth factors, such as VEGF, which are important in physiologic and pathologic processes, or GTPases that are present but active only if GTP bound. In either case, it is essential to understand the role of signaling activation to distinguish what is pathologic from what is physiologic. Particularly important is the essential role of activated Rac1 in CEC transmigration of the RPE monolayer, an important step in blindness associated with neovascular AMD. Other concepts discussed include the importance of feed-forward loops that overwhelm mechanisms that seek to restore homeostasis in cells and the importance of regulating, instead of abolishing, signaling events in a chronic, complex disease, such as neovascular AMD. These concepts are important as we move to the next stages in developing treatments for neovascular AMD. A novel therapeutic strategy that will be discussed is activating an isoform of the GTPase, Rap1, which can regulate downstream signaling and a pathologic feed-forward loop leading to Rac1 activation and migration of CECs.
PMCID: PMC4789180  PMID: 27013848
19.  A novel coculture model of porcine central neuroretina explants and retinal pigment epithelium cells 
Molecular Vision  2016;22:243-253.
Purpose
To develop and standardize a novel organ culture model using porcine central neuroretina explants and RPE cells separated by a cell culture membrane.
Methods
RPE cells were isolated from porcine eyes, expanded, and seeded on the bottom of cell culture inserts. Neuroretina explants were obtained from the area centralis and cultured alone (controls) on cell culture membranes or supplemented with RPE cells in the same wells but physically separated by the culture membrane. Finally, cellular and tissue specimens were processed for phase contrast, cyto-/histological, and immunochemical evaluation. Neuroretina thickness was also determined.
Results
Compared to the neuroretinas cultured alone, the neuroretinas cocultured with RPE cells maintained better tissue structure and cellular organization, displayed better preservation of photoreceptors containing rhodopsin, lower levels of glial fibrillary acidic protein immunoexpression, and preservation of cellular retinaldehyde binding protein both markers of reactive gliosis. Neuroretina thickness was significantly greater in the cocultures.
Conclusions
A coculture model of central porcine neuroretina and RPE cells was successfully developed and standardized. This model mimics a subretinal space and will be useful in studying interactions between the RPE and the neuroretina and to preclinically test potential therapies.
PMCID: PMC4812504  PMID: 27081295
20.  NGF increases VEGF expression and promotes cell proliferation via ERK1/2 and AKT signaling in Müller cells 
Molecular Vision  2016;22:254-263.
Purpose
Nerve growth factor (NGF) is a classic neuroprotective factor that contributes to angiogenesis under pathological conditions, which might be mediated by the upregulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Retinal Müller cells are a critical source of growth factors, including NGF and VEGF, and express the receptor for NGF, indicating the functional significance of NGF signaling in Müller cells. The aim of this study is to explore the effect of NGF on the production of other growth factors and cellular proliferation in Müller cells and to further detect the potential mechanism of these effects.
Methods
Primary Müller cells from C57BL/6J mice were isolated and identified with glutamine synthetase (GS) immunofluorescence (IF), a specific marker for Müller cells. TrkA, a high affinity receptor for NGF, was detected with IF staining in the primary Müller cells. Then, the cultured cells were stimulated with recombinant mouse NGF, and the supernatants and the cellular lysate were collected at different time points. VEGF secretion in the supernatant was detected with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The signaling activation in the Müller cells was accessed by western blot using specific phosphorylated antibodies. In addition, cell proliferation was analyzed with 3-(4,5-dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Furthermore, K252a, U0126, and LY294002, the inhibitors for TrkA, extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2), and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT, respectively, were used in combination with NGF in the assays analyzing VEGF expression and cell proliferation.
Results
Primary mouse Müller cells were successfully cultured and confirmed with GS positive staining. The IF results showed that the TrkA receptor was abundantly expressed on Müller cells. The ELISA results revealed that NGF significantly promoted the production and secretion of VEGF in Müller cells after 12 or 24 h of stimulation, with more elevation after 24 h. Furthermore, NGF activated ERK1/2 and PI3K/AKT signaling, which was shown by the marked upregulation of phosphorylation in the western blot. As expected, K252a, the inhibitor of TrkA, a high-affinity NGF receptor, suppressed the activation, showing little phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and PI3K/AKT signaling. Importantly, the VEGF levels were decreased after the inhibitors for TrkA, ERK1/2, and PI3K/AKT were used compared with NGF alone. In addition, the MTT assay showed that NGF promoted the proliferation of the Müller cells, which was also blocked by the TrkA, ERK1/2, and PI3K/AKT inhibitors.
Conclusions
The results showed that NGF enhanced the secretion of VEGF and promoted cell proliferation via the ERK1/2 and PI3K/AKT pathways in Müller cells, indicating that NGF is involved in angiogenesis-related factor generation and gliosis in Müller cells.
PMCID: PMC4812506  PMID: 27081296
21.  Mammalian retinal Müller cells have circadian clock function 
Molecular Vision  2016;22:275-283.
Purpose
To test whether Müller glia of the mammalian retina have circadian rhythms.
Methods
We used Müller glia cultures isolated from mouse lines or from humans and bioluminescent reporters of circadian clock genes to monitor molecular circadian rhythms. The clock gene dependence of the Müller cell rhythms was tested using clock gene knockout mouse lines or with siRNA for specific clock genes.
Results
We demonstrated that retinal Müller glia express canonical circadian clock genes, are capable of sustained circadian oscillations in isolation from other cell types, and exhibit unique features of their molecular circadian clock compared to the retina as a whole. Mouse and human Müller cells demonstrated circadian clock function; however, they exhibited species-specific differences in the gene dependence of their clocks.
Conclusions
Müller cells are the first mammalian retinal cell type in which sustained circadian rhythms have been demonstrated in isolation from other retinal cells.
PMCID: PMC4812508  PMID: 27081298
22.  The synthetic progestin norgestrel acts to increase LIF levels in the rd10 mouse model of retinitis pigmentosa 
Molecular Vision  2016;22:264-274.
Purpose: Retinal degenerative conditions affect thousands of people worldwide. Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is among the most common, but it is currently incurable. It is characterized by the progressive death of photoreceptor cells, eventually leading to blindness. Neurotrophic factors play an important role in such retinopathies, and much research has been performed on their use as treatments. Our group previously demonstrated the ability of the synthetic progestin norgestrel to rescue photoreceptors from cell death, the mechanism of which is believed to include upregulation of the neurotrophic factor basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). The objective of the present study was to investigate whether the protection provided by norgestrel is likely to be mediated by other neurotrophins.
Methods: The 661W photoreceptor cells and retinal explants from P30 to P40 wild-type (wt) C57BL/6 mice were treated with norgestrel over time. Homozygous rd10/rd10 mice that mimic the human form of RP were fed either a control or a norgestrel-containing diet. Changes in neurotrophic factor expression in response to norgestrel were detected with real-time PCR, western blotting, or immunofluorescence staining. Using specific siRNA, leukemia inhibitory factor (Lif) expression was knocked down in 661W photoreceptor cells that were stressed by serum starvation. Cells were treated with norgestrel followed by measurement of cell viability with (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium) (MTS) assay.
Results: LIF, a potent neuroprotective cytokine, was found to be upregulated in response to norgestrel in vitro and in vivo. Upregulation of LIF in degenerating rd10 retinas coincided with preservation of the photoreceptor layer. We also found LIF was necessary for the norgestrel-mediated rescue of stressed photoreceptor cells from cell death in vitro.
Conclusions: LIF was upregulated in response to norgestrel in all models studied and is necessary for the protective effects of norgestrel in vitro. The increase in LIF expression in rd10 mice undergoing retinal degeneration was concurrent with rescue of the photoreceptor cell layer. These results highlight the ability of norgestrel to induce prosurvival molecules in the compromised retina, underlining norgestrel’s potential as a viable drug for treatment of RP.
PMCID: PMC4812511  PMID: 27081297
23.  Whole exome sequencing identifies a novel NRL mutation in a Chinese family with autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa 
Molecular Vision  2016;22:234-242.
Purpose
To investigate the genetic basis and its relationship to the clinical manifestations in a four generation Chinese family with autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa.
Methods
Ophthalmologic examinations including fundus photography, fundus autofluorescence imaging, fundus fluorescein angiography, optical coherence tomography, and a best-corrected visual acuity test were performed to define the clinical features of the patients. We extracted the genomic DNA from peripheral blood samples. The proband’s genomic DNA was submitted to the whole exome sequencing.
Results
Whole exome sequencing and the subsequent data analysis detected six candidate mutations in the proband of this pedigree. The novel c.146 C>T mutation in NRL was found to be the only mutation that co-segregated with the disease in this pedigree. This mutation resulted in a substitution of proline by a leucine at position 49 of NRL protein (p.P49L). Most importantly, the proline residue at position 49 of NRL is highly conserved from zebrafish to humans. The c.146 C>T mutation was not observed in 200 control individuals. What’s more, we performed the luciferase activity assay to prove that this mutation we detected alters the NRL protein function.
Conclusions
The c.146 C>T mutation in NRL gene causes autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa for this family. Our finding not only expands the mutation spectrum of NRL, but also demonstrates that whole-exome sequencing is a powerful strategy to detect causative genes and mutations in RP patients. This technique may provide a precise diagnosis for rare heterogeneous monogenic disorders such as RP.
PMCID: PMC4812529  PMID: 27081294
24.  Corneal endothelial cells possess an elaborate multipolar shape to maximize the basolateral to apical membrane area 
Molecular Vision  2016;22:31-39.
Purpose
The corneal endothelium is widely believed to consist of geometrically regular cells interconnected by junctional complexes. However, while en face visualization of the endothelial apical surface reveals characteristic polygonal borders, the overall form of the component cells has rarely been observed.
Methods
To visualize the shape of individual endothelial cells within the native monolayer, two independent Cre/LoxP-based cell labeling approaches were used. In the first, a P0-Cre mouse driver strain was bred to an R26-tdTomato reporter line to map neural crest–derived endothelial cells with cytosolic red fluorescent protein. In the second, HPRT-Cre induction of small numbers of green and red fluorescent protein–filled cells within a background of unlabeled cells was achieved using a dual-color reporter system, mosaic analysis with double markers (MADM). Selective imaging of the endothelial lateral membranes at different apicobasal levels was accomplished after staining with antibodies to ZO-1 and the neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM).
Results
When viewed in their entirety in whole-mount preparations, fluorescent protein–filled cells appear star-shaped, extending multiple dendritic processes that radiate outward in the plane of the monolayer. Examination of rare cases where cells expressing different fluorescent proteins lie directly adjacent to one another reveals that these long processes undergo extensive interdigitation. The resulting overlap allows individual cells to extend over a greater area than if the cell boundaries were mutually exclusive. Anti-NCAM staining of these interlocking peripheral cell extensions reveals an elaborate system of lateral membrane folds that, when viewed in optical sections, increase in complexity from the apical to the basal pole. This not only produces a substantial increase in the basolateral, relative to the apical, membrane but also greatly extends the paracellular pathway as a highly convoluted space.
Conclusions
Our analysis indicates that, far from being simple polygonal prisms, endothelial cells possess an elaborate multipolar shape. Their unusual geometry may be essential for the endothelium to carry out its role as the principal regulator of corneal extracellular fluid flux, and thus ultimately of tissue clarity.
PMCID: PMC4814271  PMID: 27081293
25.  Gene expression changes during retinal development and rod specification 
Molecular Vision  2015;21:61-87.
Purpose
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) typically results from individual mutations in any one of >70 genes that cause rod photoreceptor cells to degenerate prematurely, eventually resulting in blindness. Gene therapies targeting individual RP genes have shown efficacy at clinical trial; however, these therapies require the surviving photoreceptor cells to be viable and functional, and may be economically feasible for only the more commonly mutated genes. An alternative potential treatment strategy, particularly for late stage disease, may involve stem cell transplants into the photoreceptor layer of the retina. Rod progenitors from postnatal mouse retinas can be transplanted and can form photoreceptors in recipient adult retinas; optimal numbers of transplantable cells are obtained from postnatal day 3–5 (P3–5) retinas. These cells can also be expanded in culture; however, this results in the loss of photoreceptor potential. Gene expression differences between postnatal retinas, cultured retinal progenitor cells (RPCs), and rod photoreceptor precursors were investigated to identify gene expression patterns involved in the specification of rod photoreceptors.
Methods
Microarrays were used to investigate differences in gene expression between cultured RPCs that have lost photoreceptor potential, P1 retinas, and fresh P5 retinas that contain significant numbers of transplantable photoreceptors. Additionally, fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) sorted Rho-eGFP-expressing rod photoreceptor precursors were compared with Rho-eGFP-negative cells from the same P5 retinas. Differential expression was confirmed with quantitative polymerase chain reaction (q-PCR).
Results
Analysis of the microarray data sets, including the use of t-distributed stochastic neighbor embedding (t-SNE) to identify expression pattern neighbors of key photoreceptor specific genes, resulted in the identification of 636 genes differentially regulated during rod specification. Forty-four of these genes when mutated have previously been found to cause retinal disease. Although gene function in other tissues may be known, the retinal function of approximately 61% of the gene list is as yet undetermined. Many of these genes’ promoters contain binding sites for the key photoreceptor transcription factors Crx and Nr2e3; moreover, the genomic clustering of differentially regulated genes appears to be non-random.
Conclusions
This study aids in understanding gene expression differences between rod photoreceptor progenitors versus cultured RPCs that have lost photoreceptor potential. The results provide insights into rod photoreceptor development and should expedite the development of cell-based treatments for RP. Furthermore, the data set includes a large number of retinopathy genes; less-well-characterized genes within this data set are a resource for those seeking to identify novel retinopathy genes in patients with RP (GEO accession: GSE59201).
PMCID: PMC4300221

Results 1-25 (2213)