Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 241 Views Jul 5, 2024

Adult mammals lack the ability to regenerate retinal neurons after injury. However, in previous studies from this lab, topical application of the selective alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) agonist, PNU-282987, has been associated with an increase in the number of retinal neurons in adult murine models both in the presence and absence of injury to the retina. Additionally, studies assaying mitotic markers have shown a substantial increase in the amount of mitotically active and proliferating cells with the topical application of the alpha7 nAChR agonist. However, these previous studies were performed using fluorescent immunolabeling and subsequent confocal microscopy, thus limiting the number of antibodies that can be multiplexed. As a result, we have developed a flow cytometry method that allows for the multiplexing and analysis of multiple external and internal markers in dissociated retinal cells. In this paper, a step-by-step protocol is described for the labeling of multiple retinal cell types such as retinal ganglion cells, rod photoreceptors, and Müller glia, concurrently with Müller glia–derived progenitor cells that arise after treatment with PNU-282987.

0 Q&A 867 Views Apr 20, 2023

Palmitoylation is a unique and reversible posttranslational lipid modification (PTM) that plays a critical role in many cellular events, including protein stability, activity, membrane association, and protein–protein interactions. The dynamic nature of palmitoylation dictates the efficient sorting of various retinal proteins to specific subcellular compartments. However, the underlying mechanism through which palmitoylation supports efficient protein trafficking in the retina remains unclear. Recent studies show that palmitoylation can also function as a signaling PTM, underlying epigenetic regulation and homeostasis in the retina. Efficient isolation of retinal palmitoyl proteome will pave the way to a better understanding of the role(s) for palmitoylation in visual function. The standard methods for detecting palmitoylated proteins employ 3H- or 14C-radiolabeled palmitic acid and have many limitations, including poor sensitivity. Relatively recent studies use thiopropyl Sepharose 6B resin, which offers efficient detection of palmitoylated proteome but is now discontinued from the market. Here, we describe a modified acyl resin–assisted capture (Acyl-RAC) method using agarose S3 high-capacity resin to purify palmitoylated proteins from the retina and other tissues, which is greatly compatible with downstream processing by LC-MS/MS. Unlike other palmitoylation assays, the present protocol is easy to perform and cost-effective.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 1072 Views Jul 20, 2022

The retina is a thin neuronal multilayer responsible for the detection of visual information. The first step in visual transduction occurs in the photoreceptor outer segment. The studies on photoreception and visual biochemistry have often utilized rod outer segments (OS) or OS disks purified from mammalian eyes. Literature reports several OS and disk purification procedures that rarely specify the procedure utilized to collect the retina from the eye. Some reports suggest the use of scissors, while others do not mention the issue as they declare to utilize frozen retinas. Because the OS are deeply embedded in the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE), the detachment of the retina by a harsh pull-out can cause the fracture of the photoreceptor cilium. Here, we present a protocol maximizing OS yield. Eye semi-cups, obtained by hemisecting the eyeball and discarding the anterior chamber structures and the vitreous, are filled with Mammalian Ringer. After 10–15 min of incubation, the retinas spontaneously detach with their wealth of OS almost intact. The impressive ability of the present protocol to minimize the number of OS stuck inside the RPE, and therefore lost, compared with the classic procedure, is shown by confocal laser scanning microscopy analysis of samples stained ex vivo with a dye (MitoTracker deep red) that stains both retinal mitochondria and OS. Total protein assay of OS disks purified by either procedure also shows a 300% total protein yield improvement. The advantage of the protocol presented is its higher yield of photoreceptor OS for subsequent purification procedures, while maintaining the physiological features of the retina.

0 Q&A 2419 Views Oct 5, 2021

Müller cells, the major glial cells of the retina, play vital roles in maintaining redox homeostasis and retinal metabolism. An immortalized human Müller cell line (MIO-M1) is widely used as an in vitro model to study Müller cells’ function, but they may not be exactly the same as primarily cultured human Müller cells. The use of human primary Müller cells (huPMCs) in culture has been limited by the requirement for complicated culture systems or particular age ranges of donors. We have successfully grown huPMCs using our established protocol. The cell type was pure, and cultured cells expressed Müller cell-specific markers strongly. The cultured huPMCs were used for morphologic, metabolic, transcriptomic, and functional studies.

Graphic abstract:

Timeline for human primary Müller cell (huPMC) culture

0 Q&A 5328 Views Sep 20, 2020
Most organs and tissues are composed of many types of cells. To characterize cellular state, various transcription profiling approaches are currently available, including whole-tissue bulk RNA sequencing, single cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-Seq), and cell type-specific RNA sequencing. What is missing in this repertoire is a simple, versatile method for bulk transcriptional profiling of cell types for which cell type-specific genetic markers or antibodies are not readily available. We therefore developed Probe-Seq, which uses hybridization of gene-specific probes to RNA markers for isolation of specific types of cells, to enable downstream FACS isolation and bulk RNA sequencing. We show that this method can enable isolation and profiling of specific cell types from mouse retina, frozen human retina, Drosophila midgut, and developing chick retina, suggesting that it is likely useful for most organisms.
0 Q&A 3156 Views Mar 20, 2020
The Drosophila retina contains light-sensitive photoreceptors (R cells) with distinct spectral sensitivities that allow them to distinguish light by its spectral composition. R7 and R8 photoreceptors are important for color vision, and can be further classified into pale (p) or yellow (y) subtypes depending on the rhodopsin expressed. While both R7y and R7p are sensitive to UV light, R8y and R8p detect light in the green and blue spectrum, respectively. The ability of R7 and R8 photoreceptors to distinguish different spectral sensitivities and the natural preference for Drosophila towards light sources (phototaxis), allow for the development of a phototactic T-maze assay that compares the functionality of different R7 and R8 subtypes. A “UV vs. blue” choice can compare the functionalities of R7p and R8p photoreceptors, while a “UV vs. green” choice can compare the functionalities of R7y and R8y photoreceptors. Additionally, a “blue vs. green” choice could be used to compare R8p and R8y photoreceptors, while a “dark vs. light" choice could be used to determine overall vision functionality. Although electrophysiological recordings and calcium imaging have been used to examine functionality of R7 and R8 photoreceptors, these approaches require expensive equipment and are technically challenging. The phototactic T-maze assay we present here is a robust, straight-forward and an inexpensive method to study genetic and developmental factors that contribute to the individual functionality of R7 and R8 photoreceptors, and is especially useful when performing large-scale genetic screens.
0 Q&A 4000 Views Dec 20, 2019
Unlike mammals, primitive vertebrates have immense capability to regenerate almost all of their organs including the central nervous system. Among primitive organisms, zebrafish have been extensively used as a model system for regeneration studies. The retina is a part of the central nervous system and mammals lack the potential to repair any damage caused to it. Zebrafish have been used for retina regeneration studies because of ease in handling and maintenance. In zebrafish, Muller glia cells respond to damage and enter the regenerative cascade to maintain the retinal homeostasis. Zebrafish retinal damage can be induced by light, chemical or mechanical methods. Here we are describing the mechanical method of retinal injury, which ensures uniform damage to all retinal layers. Alongside this, we have also described in vivo manipulation strategies for the regeneration associated genes and preparation of retinal tissue for immunohistochemical analysis.
1 Q&A 4712 Views Nov 5, 2018
Eye drop treatments are typically used to apply drugs to the anterior structures of the eye. Recently, however, studies have demonstrated that eye drops can reach the retina in the back of the eye if pharmacological agents are carried in appropriate vehicles. Here, we introduce an eye drop procedure to deliver a drug (PNU-282987), in combination with BrdU, to stimulate cell cycle re-entry and label dividing cells in the retinas of adult rodents. This procedure avoids potential systemic complications of repeated intraperitoneal injections, as well as the retinal damage that is induced by repeated intravitreal injections. Although the delivery of PNU-282987 and BrdU is the focus of this article, many different proliferating compounds could be delivered to the retina using this procedure.
0 Q&A 10827 Views Mar 5, 2018
Disease-associated mutations influencing mRNA splicing are referred to as splice mutations. The majority of splice mutations are found on exon-intron boundaries defining canonical donor and acceptor splice sites. However, mutations in the coding region (exonic mutations) can also affect mRNA splicing. Exact knowledge of the disease mechanism of splice mutations is essential for developing optimal treatment strategies. Given the large number of disease-associated mutations thus far identified, there is an unmet need for methods to systematically analyze the effects of pathogenic mutations on mRNA splicing. As splicing can vary between cell types, splice mutations need to be tested under native conditions if possible. A commonly used tool for the analysis of mRNA splicing is the construction of minigenes carrying exonic and intronic sequences. Here, we describe a protocol for the design and cloning of minigenes into recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors for gene delivery and investigation of mRNA splicing in a native context. This protocol was developed for minigene-based analysis of mRNA splicing in retinal cells, however, in principle it is applicable to any cell type, which can be transduced with rAAV vectors.
0 Q&A 9862 Views Feb 5, 2017
All seven retinal cell types that make up the mature retina are generated from a common, multipotent pool of retinal progenitor cells (RPCs) (Wallace, 2011). One way that RPCs know when sufficient numbers of particular cell-types have been generated is through negative feedback signals, which are emitted by differentiated cells and must reach threshold levels to block additional differentiation of that cell type. A key assay to assess whether negative feedback signals are emitted by differentiated cells is a heterochronic pellet assay in which early stage RPCs are dissociated and labeled with BrdU, then mixed with a 20-fold excess of dissociated differentiated cells. The combined cells are then re-aggregated and cultured as a pellet on a membrane for 7-10 days in vitro. During this time frame, RPCs will differentiate, and the fate of the BrdU+ RPCs can be assessed using cell type-specific markers. Investigators who developed this pellet assay initially demonstrated that neonatal RPCs give rise to rods on an accelerated schedule compared to embryonic RPCs when the two cell types are mixed together (Watanabe and Raff, 1990; Watanabe et al., 1997). We have used this assay to demonstrate that sonic hedgehog (Shh), which we found acts as a negative regulator of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) differentiation, promotes RPC proliferation (Jensen and Wallace, 1997; Ringuette et al., 2014). More recently we modified the heterochronic pellet assay to assess the role of feedback signals for retinal amacrine cells, identifying transforming growth factor β2 (Tgfβ2) as a negative feedback signal, and Pten as a modulator of the Tgfβ2 response (Ma et al., 2007; Tachibana et al., 2016). This assay can be adapted to other lineages and tissues to assess cell-cell interactions between two different cell-types (heterotypic) in either an isochronic or heterochronic manner.

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