Attributions

Regulation of EphA Expression in Retinal Ganglion Cells

Deborah Otteson, PhD University of Houston

Summary

These studies seek to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate expression in RGCs by identifying the promoters of the EyhA genes, determining the binding sites for retinal proteins and testing a group of specific transcription factors for their ability to activate the EphA promoters in cultured retinal cells.

Project Details

In the visual system, signaling between Eph/ephrin proteins plays key role in axon path-finding in the optic nerve, determining which retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons will cross at the optic chaism and regulating the initial positioning of RGC synapses in the brain. Gene expression is largely regulated by factors that bind to regulatory regions called promoters located in the DNA and this project's hypothesis that the spatial and cellular expression patterns of Eph receptor genes in RGCs are regulated by specific transcriptional regulatory factors. These studies seek to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate expression in RGCs by identifying the promoters of the EyhA genes, determining the binding sites for retinal proteins and testing a group of specific transcription factors for their ability to activate the EphA promoters in cultured retinal cells. The long term goals are to identify the network of regulatory mechanisms controlling gene expression in RGCs. This will contribute to our basic knowledge of RGC biology and may identify novel targets for developing new therapeutic agents and will enhance the future development of gene- and cell-based strategies for repair and regeneration of injured RGC axons to restore lost vision in patients with glaucoma.