Endothelin-2-Mediated Protection of Mutant Photoreceptors in Inherited Photoreceptor Degeneration
Alexa N. Bramall ; Michael J. Szego ; Roderick R. McInnes ; Masashi Yanagisawa ; William W. Hauswirth ; Duncan J. Stewart ; Pedro D'Orleans-Juste ; Eduardo Diez ; Inik Chang ; Laura R. Pacione
PLoS One, Vol.8(2) : e58023, 2013
Expression of the Endothelin-2 (Edn2) mRNA is greatly increased in the photoreceptors (PRs) of mouse models of inherited PR degeneration (IPD). To examine the role of Edn2 in mutant PR survival, we generated Edn2−/− mice carrying homozygous Pde6brd1 alleles or the Tg(RHO P347S) transgene. In the Edn2−/− background, PR survival increased 110% in Pde6brd1/rd1 mice at post-natal (PN) day 15, and 60% in Tg(RHO P347S) mice at PN40. In contrast, PR survival was not increased in retinal explants of Pde6brd1/rd1; Edn2−/− mice. This finding, together with systemic abnormalities in Edn2−/− mice, suggested that the increased survival of mutant PRs in the Edn2−/− background resulted at least partly from the systemic EDN2 loss of function. To examine directly the role of EDN2 in mutant PRs, we used a scAAV5-Edn2 cDNA vector to restore Edn2 expression in Pde6brd1/rd1; Edn2−/− PRs and observed an 18% increase in PR survival at PN14. Importantly, PR survival was also increased after injection of scAAV5-Edn2 into Pde6brd1/rd1 retinas, by 31% at PN15. Together, these findings suggest that increased Edn2 expression is protective to mutant PRs. To begin to elucidate Edn2-mediated mechanisms that contribute to PR survival, we used microarray analysis and identified a cohort of 20 genes with >4-fold increased expression in Tg(RHO P347S) retinas, including Fgf2. Notably, increased expression of the FGF2 protein in Tg(RHO P347S) PRs was ablated in Tg(RHO P347S); Edn2−/− retinas. Our findings indicate that the increased expression of PR Edn2 increases PR survival, and suggest that the Edn2-dependent increase in PR expression of FGF2 may contribute to the augmented survival.