May 18, 2021

Plagl1 is part of the mammalian retinal injury response and a critical regulator of Muller glial cell quiescence

Retinal damage triggers reactive gliosis in Muller glia across vertebrate species, but only in regenerative animals, such as teleost fish, do Muller glia initiate repair; proliferating and undergoing neurogenesis to replace lost cells. By mining scRNA-seq and bulk RNA-seq datasets, we found that Plagl1, a maternally imprinted gene, is dynamically regulated in reactive Muller glia post-insult, with transcript levels transiently increasing before stably declining. To study Plagl1 retinal function, we examined Plagl1+/-pat null mutants postnatally, revealing defects in retinal architecture, visual signal processing and a reactive gliotic phenotype. Plagl1+/-pat Muller glia proliferate ectopically and give rise to inner retinal neurons and photoreceptors. Transcriptomic and ATAC-seq profiles revealed similarities between Plagl1+/-pat retinas and neurodegenerative and injury models, including an upregulation of pro-gliogenic and pro-proliferative pathways, such as Notch, not observed in wild-type retinas Plagl1 is thus an essential component of the transcriptional regulatory networks that retain mammalian Muller glia in quiescence.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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