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Scientific reports

Turning the fate of reprogramming cells from retinal disorder to regeneration by Pax6 in newts.


PMID 27640672

Abstract

The newt, a urodele amphibian, has an outstanding ability- even as an adult -to regenerate a functional retina through reprogramming and proliferation of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells, even though the neural retina is completely removed from the eye by surgery. It remains unknown how the newt invented such a superior mechanism. Here we show that disability of RPE cells to regenerate the retina brings about a symptom of proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR), even in the newt. When Pax6, a transcription factor that is re-expressed in reprogramming RPE cells, is knocked down in transgenic juvenile newts, these cells proliferate but eventually give rise to cell aggregates that uniformly express alpha smooth muscle actin, Vimentin and N-cadherin, the markers of myofibroblasts which are a major component of the sub-/epi-retinal membranes in PVR. Our current study demonstrates that Pax6 is an essential factor that directs the fate of reprogramming RPE cells toward the retinal regeneration. The newt may have evolved the ability of retinal regeneration by modifying a mechanism that underlies the RPE-mediated retinal disorders.

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