Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Theses & dissertations (Interdisciplinary)
M. Heather West Greenlee
Retinal diseases involving degeneration of photoreceptors are an increasing cause of blindness in this country, particularly among the aging population. A solid understanding of retinal development is central to combating photoreceptor degeneration on several fronts. Defining developmental processes may have therapeutic relevance in 'rehabilitating' photoreceptor cells that can be rescued from degenerative processes by the application of exogenous trophic or survival factors. Further, advances in stem cell research may someday make replacement of photoreceptors a feasible therapy for the treatment of retinal degeneration. In this regard, it will be crucial that we have a clear understanding of the developing retinal environment, and the combination of intrinsic signals and extrinsic factors that influence retinal cells to adopt a photoreceptor cell fate.;The purpose of this study is to identify molecules important to rod genesis and differentiation. As a first step, we used 2 dimensional gel protein expression to identify proteins that are dynamically expressed or modified during rod genesis.;Further we tested the role of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) during retinal development particularly during the ages of rod genesis and differentiation. mTOR is involved in cell growth. We found that mTOR was expressed throughout retinal development and although was found in rod photoreceptors did not appear to be specific to them. We also found that when retinal explants were exposed to rapamycin, an mTOR inhibitor, for 10 days, rod differentiation decreased as assayed by rhodopsin expression. This indicates a modulatory role of mTOR on rod photoreceptor differentiation.
Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/
Alison Elizabeth Barnhill
Barnhill, Alison Elizabeth, "Proteins affecting rod photoreceptor differentiation in the murine retina: a proteomics approach with emphasis on mTOR" (2008). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 15672.