Experimental eye research

Relationship between rat retinal degeneration and potassium channel KCNQ5 expression.

PMID 25499209


KCNQ5/Kv7.5 is a low-threshold non-inactivating voltage-gated potassium channel preferentially targeted to excitatory endings in brain neurons. The M-type current is mediated by KCNQ5 channel subunits in monkey retinal pigment epithelium cells and in brain neurons. This study was undertaken to analyze KCNQ5 expression and the interaction signals of KCNQ5 with other proteins in normal rat retina and during photoreceptor degeneration. The KCNQ5 expression pattern was studied by immunocytochemistry and Western blot in normal rat retinas (Sprague-Dawley, SD) and P23H-1 rats as a retinitis pigmentosa model. The physical interactions of KCNQ5 with calmodulin (CaM), vesicular glutamate transporter 1 (VGluT1) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) were analyzed by in situ proximity ligation assays and were supported by calcium recording. KCNQ5 expression was found in the plexiform layers, ganglion cell layer and basal membrane of the retinal pigment epithelium. The physical interactions among KCNQ5 and CaM, VGluT1 and GFAP changed with age and during retinal degeneration. The maximal level of KCNQ5/CaM interaction was found when photoreceptors had almost completely disappeared; the KCNQ5/VGluT1 interaction signal decreased and the KCNQ5/GFAP interaction increased in the inner retina, while degeneration progressed. The basal calcium levels in the astrocytes and neurons of P23H-1 were higher than in the control SD retinas. This study demonstrates that KCNQ5 is present in the rat retina where its activity may be moderated by CaM. Retinal degeneration progression in P23H-1 rats can be followed by an interaction between KCNQ5 with CaM in an in situ system. The relationship between KCNQ5 and VGluT1 or GFAP needs to be more cautiously interpreted.