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Photoreceptor degeneration

Horizontal cells (cyan), rod bipolar cells (red) and cone photoreceptors (green) in the rd1 mouse retina. By W. Haq

The cellular processes underlying photoreceptor degeneration are not well understood. Using the transgenic biosensor mouse line HR2.1:TN-XL, we started a series of projects related to calcium dynamics at the level of the individual cone photoreceptor. Among other things, we found that light-driven calcium activity is mainly restricted to the cone synaptic terminal and that this mouse is an excellent model to study phototransduction under healthy and pathophysiological conditions, with terminal calcium as the readout (Wei et al., 2012). After cross-breeding the biosensor mouse with different mouse models of retinal degeneration, we have now started to look for potential changes in calcium dynamics in these lines.

Involved Scientists:Manoj Kulkarni, in collaboration with Francois Paquet-Durand and Bernd Wissinger
Funding Agency:Funded by the fortüne program (University of Tübingen), the Neuro-Ophthalmological Society and the DFG (CIN-EXC 307).

Photoreceptor degeneration leads to remodelling of synaptic connections in the outer retina. We used the rd1 mouse line, a model for human Retinitis Pigmentosa, to analyse whether this remodelling is accompanied with functional changes in the outer retina. We found that neurons in the degenerated rd1 outer retina display spontaneous oscillatory activity as previously described for neurons in the degenerated rd1 inner retina.

Involved Scientists:Wadood Haq, Timm Schubert, in collaboration with Eberhart Zrenner
Funding Agency:Funded by the BMBF (ANI) and the DFG (CIN-EXC 307).