Retinal Regeneration

A microRNA for retinal regeneration

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Science  24 Oct 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6208, pp. 436-437
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6208.436-g

Glia cell progenitors (cyan) divide after retina damage

CREDIT: K. RAJARAM ET AL., DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY 392, 393 © ELSEVIER LIMITED

Damage to the retina causes blindness in humans but not in zebrafish. Müller glia, a cell type shared by both mammals and zebrafish, helps zebrafish retinas regenerate. Rajaram et al. sought to better understand how this process works and identified miR-203, a microRNA (small RNA molecules that regulate gene expression), as a key player. Light-induced retina damage causes Müller glia cells to kick into action to generate progenitor cells, which then proliferate to help repair the retina. Under normal conditions, miR-203 blocked this, but retina damage caused miR-203 levels to decrease. miR-203 levels also decrease when mouse skin or the caudal fin in zebrafish regenerates, suggesting similarities in the molecular control of cellular replacement.

Dev. Biol. 392, 393 (2014).

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