A pinboard by
Tamar getter

postdoc, Case Western Reserve University


useing molecular biology / biochemistry to understand the pathophysiology of certain blinding diseas

Retinal degeneration associated with the accumulation of all-trans-retinal is one of the major causes of human acquired blindness. It affects more than one million people throughout the world and yet there is no effective treatment. Employing high-throughput screening, this study will identify drug candidates that will be used for mechanistic and preclinical studies to identify potential breakthrough treatments for human retinal degenerative diseases.


Retinopathy in mice induced by disrupted all-trans-retinal clearance.

Abstract: The visual (retinoid) cycle is a fundamental metabolic process in vertebrate retina responsible for production of 11-cis-retinal, the chromophore of rhodopsin and cone pigments. 11-cis-Retinal is bound to opsins, forming visual pigments, and when the resulting visual chromophore 11-cis-retinylidene is photoisomerized to all-trans-retinylidene, all-trans-retinal is released from these receptors. Toxic byproducts of the visual cycle formed from all-trans-retinal often are associated with lipofuscin deposits in the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE), but it is not clear whether aberrant reactions of the visual cycle participate in RPE atrophy, leading to a rapid onset of retinopathy. Here we report that mice lacking both the ATP-binding cassette transporter 4 (Abca4) and enzyme retinol dehydrogenase 8 (Rdh8), proteins critical for all-trans-retinal clearance from photoreceptors, developed severe RPE/photoreceptor dystrophy at an early age. This phenotype includes lipofuscin, drusen, and basal laminar deposits, Bruch's membrane thickening, and choroidal neovascularization. Importantly, the severity of visual dysfunction and retinopathy was exacerbated by light but attenuated by treatment with retinylamine, a visual cycle inhibitor that slows the flow of all-trans-retinal through the visual cycle. These findings provide direct evidence that aberrant production of toxic condensation byproducts of the visual cycle in mice can lead to rapid, progressive retinal degeneration.

Pub.: 29 Jul '08, Pinned: 29 Jun '17

Involvement of all-trans-retinal in acute light-induced retinopathy of mice.

Abstract: Exposure to bright light can cause visual dysfunction and retinal photoreceptor damage in humans and experimental animals, but the mechanism(s) remain unclear. We investigated whether the retinoid cycle (i.e. the series of biochemical reactions required for vision through continuous generation of 11-cis-retinal and clearance of all-trans-retinal, respectively) might be involved. Previously, we reported that mice lacking two enzymes responsible for clearing all-trans-retinal, namely photoreceptor-specific ABCA4 (ATP-binding cassette transporter 4) and RDH8 (retinol dehydrogenase 8), manifested retinal abnormalities exacerbated by light and associated with accumulation of diretinoid-pyridinium-ethanolamine (A2E), a condensation product of all-trans-retinal and a surrogate marker for toxic retinoids. Now we show that these mice develop an acute, light-induced retinopathy. However, cross-breeding these animals with lecithin:retinol acyltransferase knock-out mice lacking retinoids within the eye produced progeny that did not exhibit such light-induced retinopathy until gavaged with the artificial chromophore, 9-cis-retinal. No significant ocular accumulation of A2E occurred under these conditions. These results indicate that this acute light-induced retinopathy requires the presence of free all-trans-retinal and not, as generally believed, A2E or other retinoid condensation products. Evidence is presented that the mechanism of toxicity may include plasma membrane permeability and mitochondrial poisoning that lead to caspase activation and mitochondria-associated cell death. These findings further understanding of the mechanisms involved in light-induced retinal degeneration.

Pub.: 24 Mar '09, Pinned: 29 Jun '17