Photoreceptor Determination and Differentiation

Vertebrate vision is mediated by the function of rod and cone photoreceptors, and each species generates and maintains characteristic ratios of rods to cones, and of specific cone subtypes with different spectral sensitivities. We are using the zebrafish as a model system for probing the mechanisms that regulate the production and spatial patterns of the different photoreceptor types. The current approaches include transcriptomics, and manipulation of developmental signaling systems that regulate the expression of the cone opsin genes.

Collaborators:

Diana Mitchell, University of Idaho

Shoji Kawamura, University of Tokyo

Anand Swaroop, National Eye Institute

M. Valeria Canto-Soler, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

ligand trap
ligand trap
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LWS PACH with T3
LWS PACH with T3
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newborn cones
newborn cones
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treated RARE-p1bd4pekfmrb0g2a15hi171418qc
treated RARE-p1bd4pekfmrb0g2a15hi171418qc
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image9961
image9961
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1d1
1d1
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Retinal Regeneration

Zebrafish are able to regenerate their retinas after lesions that destroy neurons. Using behavioral assays we have documented the loss and recovery of visual function. This functional recovery takes place despite the presence of histological errors in the regenerated retina. Current studies are focused upon the morphologies of regenerated bipolar neurons, their connections to synaptic partners, and the role of the immune system during the process of regeneration.

Collaborators:

Diana Mitchell, University of Idaho

Peter Fuerst, University of Idaho

pcna dapi gfap-gfp-p1bd4qhmr31f7srfh6dhfs11i4h
pcna dapi gfap-gfp-p1bd4qhmr31f7srfh6dhfs11i4h
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regen cone BP-p1bd4pekfo186u11a01uc6dn5qpu
regen cone BP-p1bd4pekfo186u11a01uc6dn5qpu
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regen four color section-p1bd4pekfpa801tl1i90j8n1msp
regen four color section-p1bd4pekfpa801tl1i90j8n1msp
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bipolar neurons
bipolar neurons
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K3_04R 21DPI 20x water objective for figure-p1bd4qhmr11isrkgk833hli5cf
K3_04R 21DPI 20x water objective for figure-p1bd4qhmr11isrkgk833hli5cf
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cone connections
cone connections
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Vascular-neural interactions

Tissue-tissue interactions are important for the morphogenesis and differentiation of tissues of the vertebrate eye, but roles for the ocular vasculature have been difficult to study due to metabolic functions of the vasculature to supply oxygen and nutrients. In zebrafish embryos, however, the vasculature can be manipulated without causing tissue hypoxia, because diffusion is sufficient for gas and nutrient exchange. We are using temporally-selective manipulations of the vasculature, along with specific zebrafish mutants, to determine components of the vasculature that are required for retinal differentiation.

 

Collaborators:

Adi Inbal, Hebrew University of Israel

zebrafish heart
zebrafish heart
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WT-p1bd4r0n8e1catnnj1068v6tfev
WT-p1bd4r0n8e1catnnj1068v6tfev
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cloche re-crop
cloche re-crop
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vessels
vessels
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NeuroD-p1bd4r0n8ccsno4p1smo4idnt9
NeuroD-p1bd4r0n8ccsno4p1smo4idnt9
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zebrafish embryo
zebrafish embryo
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Evolution in visually challenging environments

In a multi-institution collaborative project, we are studying the visual systems of threespine stickleback that have recently colonized turbid glacial waters of Iceland.

Collaborators:

Jenny Boughmann, Michigan State University

Hans Hofmann, University of Texas, Austin

Through additional collaborations within the UI's Center for Modeling Complex Interactions (CMCI), we are developing strategies to predict peak spectral sensitivity of cone visual pigments using homology modeling and molecular simulations.

 

Collaborators:

Jagdish Patel, University of Idaho

Celeste Brown, University of Idaho

Analysis of rod-mediated color vision in deep sea fish.

Collaborators:

Walter Salzburger, University of Basel, Switzerland

Zuzana Musilova, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

Fabio Cortesi, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

stickleback eye
stickleback eye
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Stickleback
Stickleback
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glacial lake
glacial lake
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homology model of a cone pigment
homology model of a cone pigment
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spinyfin
spinyfin
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phylogenetic tree of spinyfin rhodopsins
phylogenetic tree of spinyfin rhodopsins
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