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Noelia J. Kunzevitzky, Monica V. Almeida, Jeffrey L. Goldberg; Amacrine Cell Gene Expression and Survival Signaling: Differences from Neighboring Retinal Ganglion Cells. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(7):3800-3812. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.09-4540.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To describe how developing amacrine cells and retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) differ in survival signaling and global gene expression.
Amacrine cells were immunopurified and processed for gene microarray analysis. For survival studies, purified amacrine cells were cultured at low density in serum-free medium, with and without peptide trophic factors and survival pathway inhibitors. The differences in gene expression between amacrine cells and RGCs were analyzed by comparing the transcriptomes of these two cell types at the same developmental ages.
The amacrine cell transcriptome was very dynamic during development. Amacrine cell gene expression was remarkably similar to that of RGCs, but differed in several gene ontologies, including polarity- and neurotransmission-associated genes. Unlike RGCs, amacrine cell survival in vitro was independent of cell density and the presence of exogenous trophic factors, but necessitated Erk activation via MEK1/2 and AKT signaling. Finally, comparison of the gene expression profile of amacrine cells and RGCs provided a list of polarity-associated candidate genes that may explain the inability of amacrine cells to differentiate axons and dendrites as RGCs do.
Comparison of the gene expression profile between amacrine cells and RGCs may improve our understanding of why amacrine cells fail to differentiate axons and dendrites during retinal development and of what makes amacrine cells differ in their resistance to neurodegeneration. Switching RGCs to an amacrine cell-like state could help preserve their survival in neurodegenerative diseases like glaucoma, and amacrine cells could provide a ready source of replacement RGCs in such optic neuropathies.
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