Transcriptional analysis of rat photoreceptor cells reveals daily regulation of genes important for visual signaling and light damage susceptibility

Authors

  • Stefanie Kunst,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Cell and Matrix Biology, Institute of Zoology, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany
    • Institute of Functional and Clinical Anatomy, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany
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  • Tanja Wolloscheck,

    1. Institute of Functional and Clinical Anatomy, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany
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  • Philip Hölter,

    1. Institute of Functional and Clinical Anatomy, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany
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  • Alexander Wengert,

    1. Institute of Functional and Clinical Anatomy, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany
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  • Markus Grether,

    1. Institute of Functional and Clinical Anatomy, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany
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  • Carsten Sticht,

    1. Medical Research Centre, Medical Faculty Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany
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  • Veronika Weyer,

    1. Institute of Medical Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany
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  • Uwe Wolfrum,

    1. Department of Cell and Matrix Biology, Institute of Zoology, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany
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  • Rainer Spessert

    1. Institute of Functional and Clinical Anatomy, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany
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Address correspondence and reprint requests to Stefanie Kunst, Institute of Functional and Clinical Anatomy, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Saarstraße 19-21, 55099 Mainz, Germany. E-mail: kunsts@uni-mainz.de

Abstract

Photoreceptor cells face the challenge of adjusting their function and, possibly, their susceptibility to light damage to the marked daily changes in ambient light intensity. To achieve a better understanding of photoreceptor adaptation at the transcriptional level, this study aimed to identify genes which are under daily regulation in photoreceptor cells using microarray analysis and quantitative PCR. Included in the gene set obtained were a number of genes which up until now have not been shown to be expressed in photoreceptor cells, such as Atf3 (activating transcription factor 3) and Pde8a (phosphodiesterase 8A), and others with a known impact on phototransduction and/or photoreceptor survival, such as Grk1 (G protein-coupled receptor kinase 1) and Pgc-1α (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ, coactivator 1alpha). According to their daily dynamics, the genes identified could be clustered in two groups: those with peak expression during the second part of the day which are uniformly promoted to cycle by light/dark transitions and those with peak expression during the second part of the night which are predominately driven by a clock. Since Grk1 and Pgc-1α belong in the first group, the present results support a concept in which transcriptional regulation of genes by ambient light contributes to the functional adjustment of photoreceptor cells over the 24-h period.

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