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Shravan K. Chintala, Nahrain Putris, Mason Geno; Activation of TLR3 Promotes the Degeneration of Retinal Ganglion Cells by Upregulating the Protein Levels of JNK3. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(1):505-514. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.14-15539.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To investigate whether activation of Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) promotes the degeneration of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) by upregulating the protein levels of c-jun N-terminal kinase 3 (JNK3).
Toll-like receptor 3-specific activator, Poly(I:C) (polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid), or PBS was injected into the vitreous humor of Thy1-YFP mice. At 24, 48, and 72 hours after treatments, degeneration of RGCs was assessed by using antibodies against brain-specific homeobox/POU domain protein 3a (Brn3a). A TLR3-specific inhibitor was injected into the vitreous humor with or without Poly(I:C). Western blot assays were performed to determine relative levels of TLR3, JNK3, pJNK3, and sterile alpha and HEAT/Armadillo motif-containing 1 (SARM1) proteins in retinal protein extracts, and immunohistochemistry assays were performed to determine their cellular localization in the retina. Mouse eyes were treated with Poly(I:C) or PBS along with MitoTracker Red, and colocalization of MitoTracker Red and JNK3 in the retinas was determined by using antibodies against JNK3.
Poly(I:C) activated TLR3 and upregulated its downstream target protein JNK3 but not SARM1 in the retina. Poly(I:C) activated TLR3 and upregulated JNK3 specifically in RGCs and promoted a significant degeneration of RGCs over a 72-hour time period. Toll-like receptor 3 upregulated the levels of JNK3 protein in the cytoplasm of RGCs, but not in the mitochondria. Toll-like receptor 3-specific inhibitor downregulated Poly(I:C)-mediated upregulation of JNK3 protein, and, in turn, significantly attenuated TLR3-induced degeneration of RGCs.
Results presented in this study show that the activation of TLR3 alone promotes the degeneration of RGCs by upregulating the protein levels of JNK3.
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