Induction of STAT3-related genes in fast degenerating cone photoreceptors of cpfl1 mice

Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 2010, doi:10.1007/s00018-010-0376-9, published on 14.05.2010
Cell. Mol. Life Sci., online article
Cone dystrophies are genetic diseases characterized by loss of cone photoreceptor function and severe impairment of daylight vision. Loss of function is accompanied by a progressive degeneration of cones limiting potential therapeutic interventions. In this study we combined microarray-based gene-expression analysis with electroretinography and immunohistochemistry to characterize the pathological processes in the cone photoreceptor function loss 1 (cpfl1) mouse model. The cpfl1-mouse is a naturally arising mouse mutant with a loss-of-function mutation in the cone-specific Pde6c gene. Cpfl1-mice displayed normal rod-specific light responses while cone-specific responses were strongly diminished. Despite the lack of a general retinal degeneration, the cone-specific functional defect resulted in a marked activation of GFAP, a hallmark of Müller-cell gliosis. Microarray-based network-analysis confirmed activation of Müller-glia-specific transcripts. Unexpectedly, we found up-regulation of the cytokine LIF and the anti-apoptotic transcription factor STAT3 in cpfl1 cone photoreceptors. We postulate that STAT3-related pathways are induced in cpfl1 cone photoreceptors to counteract degeneration.

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