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PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e36243. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036243. Epub 2012 Apr 27.

Sortilin participates in light-dependent photoreceptor degeneration in vivo.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, University of Granada, Granada, Spain.


Both proNGF and the neurotrophin receptor p75 (p75(NTR)) are known to regulate photoreceptor cell death caused by exposure of albino mice to intense illumination. ProNGF-induced apoptosis requires the participation of sortilin as a necessary p75(NTR) co-receptor, suggesting that sortilin may participate in the photoreceptor degeneration triggered by intense lighting. We report here that light-exposed albino mice showed sortilin, p75(NTR), and proNGF expression in the outer nuclear layer, the retinal layer where photoreceptor cell bodies are located. In addition, cone progenitor-derived 661W cells subjected to intense illumination expressed sortilin and p75(NTR) and released proNGF into the culture medium. Pharmacological blockade of sortilin with either neurotensin or the "pro" domain of proNGF (pro-peptide) favored the survival of 661W cells subjected to intense light. In vivo, the pro-peptide attenuated retinal cell death in light-exposed albino mice. We propose that an auto/paracrine proapoptotic mechanism based on the interaction of proNGF with the receptor complex p75(NTR)/sortilin participates in intense light-dependent photoreceptor cell death. We therefore propose sortilin as a putative target for intervention in hereditary retinal dystrophies.

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