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Mengjuan Wu, Qinqin Deng, Xinlan Lei, Yuxin Du, Yin Shen; Elavl2 Regulates Retinal Function Via Modulating the Differentiation of Amacrine Cells Subtype. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2021;62(7):1. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.62.7.1.
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The neuronal ELAV-like proteins (nElavls; Elavl2, Elavl3, Elavl4) have been known to regulate neuronal differentiation, maintenance, and axonogenesis in the brain. However, the specific role of nElavls in retina remains unclear. Here, we attempted to identify the expression pattern of Elavl2 during retinogenesis and aimed to decipher the function of Elavl2 in the retina.
We have used the Cre-loxP system to conditionally inactivate Elavl2 in order to examine its role in developing retina. Eyes were collected for histology, immunohistochemistry, and TUNEL analysis to identify the structure of retina, and examined by RNA sequencing to analyze the function and pathway enrichment of differentially expressed genes in transgenic mice. Moreover, the mechanism by which Elavl2 regulates the differentiation of amacrine cells (ACs) was explored by RNA immunoprecipitation assays. Finally, eyes were functionally assessed by whole-cell patch-clamp, electroretinography (ERG) and optomotor response.
Elavl2 was expressed in retinal progenitor cells and retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), ACs, and horizontal cells. Retina-specific ablation of Elavl2 led to the loss of ACs and the transcription factors involved in ACs differentiation were also downregulated. In addition, the spontaneous activities of RGCs were obviously increased in Elavl2-deficient mice. Meanwhile, the loss of ACs that induced by Elavl2 deficiency lead to a decrease in ERG responses and visual acuity.
Elavl2 is an intrinsic factor that involved in the differentiation of ACs subtype during retinogenesis, and essential for maintaining the normal retinal function.
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