Publications by authors named "Elisa Murenu"

6 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

A universal protocol for isolating retinal ON bipolar cells across species via fluorescence-activated cell sorting.

Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev 2021 Mar 26;20:587-600. Epub 2021 Jan 26.

Department of Ophthalmology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, 80336 Munich, Germany.

Inherited retinal dystrophies (IRDs) are characterized by progressive degeneration and loss of light-sensing photoreceptors. The most promising therapeutic approach for IRDs is gene supplementation therapy using viral vectors, which requires the presence of viable photoreceptors at the time of intervention. At later disease stages, photoreceptors are lost and can no longer be rescued with this approach. For these patients, conferring light-sensing abilities to the remaining interneurons of the ON circuit (i.e., ON bipolar cells) using optogenetic tools poses an alternative treatment strategy. Such treatments, however, are hampered by the lack of efficient gene delivery tools targeting ON bipolar cells, which in turn rely on the effective isolation of these cells to facilitate tool development. Herein, we describe a method to selectively isolate ON bipolar cells via fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), based on the expression of two intracellular markers. We show that the method is compatible with highly sensitive downstream analyses and suitable for the isolation of ON bipolar cells from healthy as well as degenerated mouse retinas. Moreover, we demonstrate that this approach works effectively using non-human primate (NHP) retinal tissue, thereby offering a reliable pipeline for universal screening strategies that do not require inter-species adaptations or transgenic animals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.omtm.2021.01.011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7895692PMC
March 2021

Metabolic Analysis of Vitreous/Lens and Retina in Wild Type and Retinal Degeneration Mice.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 Feb 26;22(5). Epub 2021 Feb 26.

Department of Ophthalmology, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Mathildenstraße 8, 80336 Munich, Germany.

Photoreceptors are the light-sensing cells of the retina and the major cell type affected in most inherited retinal degenerations. Different metabolic pathways sustain their high energetic demand in physiological conditions, particularly aerobic glycolysis. The principal metabolome of the mature retina has been studied, but only limited information is available on metabolic adaptations in response to key developmental events, such as eye opening. Moreover, dynamic metabolic changes due to retinal degeneration are not well understood. Here, we aimed to explore and map the ocular metabolic dynamics induced by eye opening in healthy (wild type) or -mutant (retinal degeneration 1, Rd1) mice, in which photoreceptors degenerate shortly after eye opening. To unravel metabolic differences emerging before and after eye opening under physiological and pathophysiological conditions, we performed nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy-based metabolome analysis of wild type and Rd1 retina and vitreous/lens. We show that eye opening is accompanied by changes in the concentration of selected metabolites in the retina and by alterations in the vitreous/lens composition only in the retinal degeneration context. As such, we identify NAcetylaspartate as a potential novel vitreous/lens marker reflecting progressive retinal degeneration. Thus, our data can help elucidating mechanisms underlying key events in retinal physiology and reveal changes occurring in pathology, while highlighting the importance of the vitreous/lens in the characterization of retinal diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22052345DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7956175PMC
February 2021

The cGMP-Dependent Protein Kinase 2 Contributes to Cone Photoreceptor Degeneration in the -Deficient Mouse Model of Achromatopsia.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Dec 23;22(1). Epub 2020 Dec 23.

Department of Pharmacy-Center for Drug Research, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, 81377 Munich, Germany.

Mutations in the gene, which encodes the A subunit of the cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP)-gated cation channel in cone photoreceptor outer segments, cause total colour blindness, also referred to as achromatopsia. Cones lacking this channel protein are non-functional, accumulate high levels of the second messenger cGMP and degenerate over time after induction of ER stress. The cell death mechanisms that lead to loss of affected cones are only partially understood. Here, we explored the disease mechanisms in the knockout (KO) mouse model of achromatopsia. We found that another important effector of cGMP, the cGMP-dependent protein kinase 2 (Prkg2) is crucially involved in cGMP cytotoxicity of cones in KO mice. Virus-mediated knockdown or genetic ablation of in KO mice counteracted degeneration and preserved the number of cones. Analysis of markers of endoplasmic reticulum stress and unfolded protein response confirmed that induction of these processes in KO cones also depends on Prkg2. In conclusion, we identified Prkg2 as a novel key mediator of cone photoreceptor degeneration in achromatopsia. Our data suggest that this cGMP mediator could be a novel pharmacological target for future neuroprotective therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22010052DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7793084PMC
December 2020

Identification and Successful Negotiation of a Metabolic Checkpoint in Direct Neuronal Reprogramming.

Cell Stem Cell 2016 Mar 31;18(3):396-409. Epub 2015 Dec 31.

Physiological Genomics, Biomedical Center Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, 80336 Munich, Germany; Institute for Stem Cell Research, Helmholtz Center Munich, 85764 Neuherberg, Germany; Excellence Cluster of Systems Neurology (SYNERGY), 80336 Munich, Germany. Electronic address:

Despite the widespread interest in direct neuronal reprogramming, the mechanisms underpinning fate conversion remain largely unknown. Our study revealed a critical time point after which cells either successfully convert into neurons or succumb to cell death. Co-transduction with Bcl-2 greatly improved negotiation of this critical point by faster neuronal differentiation. Surprisingly, mutants with reduced or no affinity for Bax demonstrated that Bcl-2 exerts this effect by an apoptosis-independent mechanism. Consistent with a caspase-independent role, ferroptosis inhibitors potently increased neuronal reprogramming by inhibiting lipid peroxidation occurring during fate conversion. Genome-wide expression analysis confirmed that treatments promoting neuronal reprogramming elicit an anti-oxidative stress response. Importantly, co-expression of Bcl-2 and anti-oxidative treatments leads to an unprecedented improvement in glial-to-neuron conversion after traumatic brain injury in vivo, underscoring the relevance of these pathways in cellular reprograming irrespective of cell type in vitro and in vivo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.stem.2015.12.003DOI Listing
March 2016

Loss of GABAergic neurons in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex of Engrailed-2 null mutant mice: implications for autism spectrum disorders.

Exp Neurol 2013 Sep 27;247:496-505. Epub 2013 Jan 27.

Laboratory of Molecular Neuropathology, Centre for Integrative Biology, University of Trento, Italy.

The homeobox-containing transcription factor Engrailed-2 (En2) is involved in patterning and neuronal differentiation of the midbrain/hindbrain region, where it is prominently expressed. En2 mRNA is also expressed in the adult mouse hippocampus and cerebral cortex, indicating that it might also function in these brain areas. Genome-wide association studies revealed that En2 is a candidate gene for autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and mice devoid of its expression (En2(-/-) mice) display anatomical, behavioral and clinical "autistic-like" features. Since reduced GABAergic inhibition has been proposed as a possible pathogenic mechanism of ASD, we hypothesized that the phenotype of En2(-/-) mice might include defective GABAergic innervation in the forebrain. Here we show that the Engrailed proteins are present in postnatal GABAergic neurons of the mouse hippocampus and cerebral cortex, and adult En2(-/-) mice show reduced expression of GABAergic marker mRNAs in these areas. In addition, reduction in parvalbumin (PV), somatostatin (SOM) and neuropeptide Y (NPY) expressing interneurons is detected in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex of adult En2(-/-) mice. Our results raise the possibility of a link between altered function of En2, anatomical deficits of GABAergic forebrain neurons and the pathogenesis of ASD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.expneurol.2013.01.021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3657304PMC
September 2013

The positional identity of mouse ES cell-generated neurons is affected by BMP signaling.

Cell Mol Life Sci 2013 Mar 16;70(6):1095-111. Epub 2012 Oct 16.

Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Piazza dei Cavalieri 7, 56100, Pisa, Italy.

We investigated the effects of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) in determining the positional identity of neurons generated in vitro from mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs), an aspect that has been neglected thus far. Classical embryological studies in lower vertebrates indicate that BMPs inhibit the default fate of pluripotent embryonic cells, which is both neural and anterior. Moreover, mammalian ESCs generate neurons more efficiently when cultured in a minimal medium containing BMP inhibitors. In this paper, we show that mouse ESCs produce, secrete, and respond to BMPs during in vitro neural differentiation. After neuralization in a minimal medium, differentiated ESCs show a gene expression profile consistent with a midbrain identity, as evaluated by the analysis of a number of markers of anterior-posterior and dorsoventral identity. We found that BMPs endogenously produced during neural differentiation mainly act by inhibiting the expression of a telencephalic gene profile, which was revealed by the treatment with Noggin or with other BMP inhibitors. To better characterize the effect of BMPs on positional fate, we compared the global gene expression profiles of differentiated ESCs with those of embryonic forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain. Both Noggin and retinoic acid (RA) support neuronal differentiation of ESCs, but they show different effects on their positional identity: whereas RA supports the typical gene expression profile of hindbrain neurons, Noggin induces a profile characteristic of dorsal telencephalic neurons. Our findings show that endogenously produced BMPs affect the positional identity of the neurons that ESCs spontaneously generate when differentiating in vitro in a minimal medium. The data also support the existence of an intrinsic program of neuronal differentiation with dorsal telencephalic identity. Our method of ESC neuralization allows for fast differentiation of neural cells via the same signals found during in vivo embryonic development and for the acquisition of cortical identity by the inhibition of BMP alone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00018-012-1182-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3578729PMC
March 2013