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Wnt Regulates Proliferation and Neurogenic Potential of Müller Glial Cells via a Lin28/let-7 miRNA-Dependent Pathway in Adult Mammalian Retinas.

Cell Rep. 2016 Sep 27;17(1):165-178

Authors: Yao K, Qiu S, Tian L, Snider WD, Flannery JG, Schaffer DV, Chen B

Abstract
In cold-blooded vertebrates such as zebrafish, Müller glial cells (MGs) readily proliferate to replenish lost retinal neurons. In mammals, however, MGs lack regenerative capability as they do not spontaneously re-enter the cell cycle unless the retina is injured. Here, we show that gene transfer of β-catenin in adult mouse retinas activates Wnt signaling and MG proliferation without retinal injury. Upstream of Wnt, deletion of GSK3β stabilizes β-catenin and activates MG proliferation. Downstream of Wnt, β-catenin binds to the Lin28 promoter and activates transcription. Deletion of Lin28 abolishes β-catenin-mediated effects on MG proliferation, and Lin28 gene transfer stimulates MG proliferation. We further demonstrate that let-7 miRNAs are critically involved in Wnt/Lin28-regulated MG proliferation. Intriguingly, a subset of cell-cycle-reactivated MGs express markers for amacrine cells. Together, these results reveal a key role of Wnt-Lin28-let7 miRNA signaling in regulating proliferation and neurogenic potential of MGs in the adult mammalian retina.

PMID: 27681429 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]