PLoS One 2014 8;9(7):e101748. Epub 2014 Jul 8.
Department of Biology, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, United States of America.
In the present study we explored the role of β-catenin in mediating chick retina regeneration. The chick can regenerate its retina by activating stem/progenitor cells present in the ciliary margin (CM) of the eye or via transdifferentiation of the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE). Both modes require fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2). We observed, by immunohistochemistry, dynamic changes of nuclear β-catenin in the CM and RPE after injury (retinectomy). β-Catenin nuclear accumulation was transiently lost in cells of the CM in response to injury alone, while the loss of nuclear β-catenin was maintained as long as FGF2 was present. However, nuclear β-catenin positive cells remained in the RPE in response to injury and were BrdU-/p27+, suggesting that nuclear β-catenin prevents those cells from entering the cell cycle. If FGF2 is present, the RPE undergoes dedifferentiation and proliferation concomitant with loss of nuclear β-catenin. Moreover, retinectomy followed by disruption of active β-catenin by using a signaling inhibitor (XAV939) or over-expressing a dominant negative form of Lef-1 induces regeneration from both the CM and RPE in the absence of FGF2. Our results imply that β-catenin protects cells of the CM and RPE from entering the cell cycle in the developing eye, and specifically for the RPE during injury. Thus inactivation of β-catenin is a pre-requisite for chick retina regeneration.