October 24, 2020

Starburst amacrine cells amplify optogenetic visual restoration through gap junctions in the murine retina

Ectopic induction of optogenetic actuators, such as channelrhodopsin, is a promising approach to restore vision in the degenerating retina. However, the cell type-specific response of ectopic photoreception has not been well understood. It is not easy to obtain efficient gene expression in a specifically targeted cell population by a transgenic approach. In the present study, we established retinal ganglion cell (RGC)- and amacrine cell gene induction in a murine model with high efficiency using an improved tetracycline transactivator-operator bipartite system (KENGE-tet system). To investigate the cell type-specific visual restoration effect, we expressed the channel rhodopsin gene into RGCs and amacrine cells using this system. Then, enhancement of the visual restoration effect was observed by gene transfer not only to RGCs but also to starburst amacrine cells. It was suggested that photoresponse from amacrine cells enhanced the maintained response of ganglion cells and furthered the visual restoration effect.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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