Research Summary

An investigation on the role of transcription factors Ascl1a, FoxN4, Zic2b and tumor suppressor PTEN in retina regeneration and functional analysis of pluripotency factors in retinal stem cells.

Retinal damage is one of the most common causes of blindness in the modern world. Though we have made progress with regard to the treatment of retinal damage, efficient strategies for repairing damaged retina still remains elusive. Various mammalian, avian and piscine animal model studies have revealed the potential of a cell type called Muller glia (MG) in the restoration of vision after an acute damage in the retina. However the piscine model zebrafish offers the maximum potential in unraveling the mystery of retinal regeneration compared to its mammalian or avian counterparts. Though the retina regeneration in zebrafish is a known fact, the cellular and molecular basis of this remarkable phenomenon remain largely unknown. Recent studies have suggested the detrimental roles of various genetic factors like hb-egfa, ascl1a, lin28, and pax6b in fish retina regeneration, the exact mechanism remained largely unknown. In the present work, I wish to understand the roles of conditional wnt signaling, at various stages of retinal injury, roles of certain regeneration specific and pluripotency genes in Muller glial cells of wild type and different mutant background. We also look into various signaling pathways that are involved in the regeneration cascade in the fish retina


Figure Legend: RNA in situ hybridization of ascl1a at 4 days post retinal injury (20X objective magnification)