MEK–ERK and heparin-susceptible signaling pathways are involved in cell-cycle entry of the wound edge retinal pigment epithelium cells in the adult newt


Chikafumi Chiba, e-mail:


The onset mechanism of proliferation in mitotically quiescent retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells is still obscure in humans and newts, although it can be a clinical target for manipulating both retinal diseases and regeneration. To address this issue, we investigated factors or signaling pathways involved in the first cell-cycle entry of RPE cells upon retinal injury using a newt retina-less eye-cup culture system in which the cells around the wound edge of the RPE exclusively enter the cell cycle. We found that MEK–ERK signaling is necessary for their cell-cycle entry, and signaling pathways whose activities can be modulated by heparin, such as Wnt-, Shh-, and thrombin-mediated pathways, are capable of regulating the cell-cycle entry. Furthermore, we found that the cells inside the RPE have low proliferation competence even in the presence of serum, suggesting inversely that a loss of cell-to-cell contact would allow the cells to enter the cell cycle.