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Mol Neurobiol. 2019 Aug 10. doi: 10.1007/s12035-019-01723-5. [Epub ahead of print]

Calpain Activation Is the Major Cause of Cell Death in Photoreceptors Expressing a Rhodopsin Misfolding Mutation.

Author information

1
Department of Life Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, via Campi, 287, 41125, Modena, Italy.
2
Department of Life Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, via Campi, 287, 41125, Modena, Italy. valeria.marigo@unimore.it.

Abstract

The majority of mutations in rhodopsin (RHO) cause misfolding of the protein and has been linked to degeneration of photoreceptor cells in the retina. A lot of attention has been set on targeting ER stress for the development of new therapies for inherited retinal degeneration caused by mutations in the RHO gene. Nevertheless, the cell death pathway activated by RHO misfolded protein is still debated. In this study, we analyzed the retina of the knock-in mouse expressing the P23H misfolded mutant RHO. We found persistent unfolded protein response (UPR) during degeneration. Interestingly, long-term stimulation of the PERK branch of ER stress had a protective effect by phosphorylating nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) transcription factor, associated with antioxidant responses. Otherwise, we provide evidence that increased intracellular calcium and activation of calpains strongly correlated with rod photoreceptor cell death. By blocking calpain activity, we significantly decreased the activation of caspase-7 and apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF), two cell death effectors, and cell demise, and effectively protected the retina from degeneration caused by the P23H dominant mutation in RHO.

KEYWORDS:

GSK2606414A; PD150606; Rod; Spectrin; Z-VAD-FMK; adRP; eIF2α

PMID:
31401765
DOI:
10.1007/s12035-019-01723-5

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