Menu

Cone Cell Correctors

In mice, adult cone cell outer segments and their visual functions deteriorate if two microRNAs are not present.

Oct 1, 2014
Jyoti Madhusoodanan

EDGE OF SIGHT: The outer segments (green) of photoreceptors in the mouse retina rely upon a pair of microRNAs for proper structure and function. NEURON, BUSSKAMP ET AL., 2014

EDITOR'S CHOICE IN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY

The paper
V. Busskamp et al., “miRNAs 182 and 183 are necessary to maintain adult cone photoreceptor outer segments and visual function,” Neuron, 83:586-600, 2014.

The background
In retinal photoreceptors, the conversion of light to an electrical signal occurs in an organelle known as the outer segment. Malfunctioning outer segments are linked to cone cell diseases and blindness. Previous studies have shown microRNAs (miRNAs)—noncoding RNAs that repress gene expression—are essential to normal cone cell development, but how they operate in adult retinas was unclear.

The experiment
Botond Roska of the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research in Switzerland and his colleagues developed knockout mice and in vitro models in which all miRNAs were depleted in fully formed retinas. Lacking miRNAs, cone cells lost their outer segments and showed reduced responses to light, but the cells did not degenerate. “Finding a phenotype where the cells lose the outer segment but stay absolutely intact was very unexpected,” says Roska. Reexpressing two of the most abundant cone miRNAs, miR-182 and miR-183, restored outer segments and normal light responses in cultured retinal cells.

The functions
These two miRNAs are thought to play a role in lipid metabolism within cells. Roska speculates that they may help regulate a supply of lipids and other molecules to cone cells’ apical membranes to renew outer segments.

The implications
The outer segments restored by miRNAs 182 and 183 in culture are shorter than those in normal mouse retinas. Nonetheless, these miRNAs could enhance the utility of retina-in-a-dish models. “The field is basically stuck right now because nobody knows how to make a photoreceptor outer segment,” says molecular ophthalmologist Jean Bennett of the University of Pennsylvania. “This could be a clue.”

January 2019

Cannabis on Board

Research suggests ill effects of cannabinoids in the womb

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

FORMULATRIX® digital PCR technology to be acquired by QIAGEN
FORMULATRIX® digital PCR technology to be acquired by QIAGEN
FORMULATRIX has announced that their digital PCR assets, including the CONSTELLATION® series of instruments, is being acquired by QIAGEN N.V. (NYSE: QGEN, Frankfurt Stock Exchange: QIA) for up to $260 million ($125 million upfront payment and $135 million of milestones).  QIAGEN has announced plans for a global launch in 2020 of a new series of digital PCR platforms that utilize the advanced dPCR technology developed by FORMULATRIX combined with QIAGEN’s expertise in assay development and automation.
Application of CRISPR/Cas to the Generation of Genetically Engineered Mice
Application of CRISPR/Cas to the Generation of Genetically Engineered Mice
With this application note from Taconic, learn about the power that the CRISPR/Cas system has to revolutionize the field of custom mouse model generation!
Translational Models of Obesity, Dysmetabolism, Diabetes, and Complications
Translational Models of Obesity, Dysmetabolism, Diabetes, and Complications
This webinar, from Crown Bioscience, presents a unique continuum of translational dysmetabolic platforms that more closely mimic human disease. Learn about using next-generation rodent and spontaneously diabetic non-human primate models to accurately model human-relevant disease progression and complications related to obesity and diabetes here!
BiochemAR: an augmented reality app for easy visualization of virtual 3D molecular models
BiochemAR: an augmented reality app for easy visualization of virtual 3D molecular models
Have you played Pokemon Go? Then you've used Augmented Reality (AR) technology! AR technology holds substantial promise and potential for providing a low-cost, easy to use digital platform for the manipulation of virtual 3D objects, including 3D models of biological macromolecules.