Retinal Ganglion Cell (RGC) fate induction by Ngn-Family Transcription Factors

RGCs are the projection neurons of the retina. Since loss of RGCs is the cellular basis for vision loss in patients with glaucoma, finding ways to regenerate them will aid in the development of regenerative therapies for these patients. The aim of this study was to examine the ability of Ngn-family transcription factors (TFs) to induce RGC regeneration through reprogramming in vitro and in vivo (in the lab and in live animals). (Transcription factors are proteins that help turn specific genes “on” or “off” by binding to nearby DNA.) The researchers used lentiviruses to deliver Ngn-TFs into mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). In vivo, mouse pup retina electroporation was used to deliver Ngn-TFs into late-stage retinal progenitor cells (RPCs). Tests including 

RNA sequencing and patch-clamp recording were used to examine cell fate  reprogramming and neuronal electrophysiologic functions. Conclusions: Ngn-TFs are effective in inducing an RGC-like fate both in vitro and in vivo and might be explored further in the future for glaucoma.

Source: Ke Zhang et al, Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2023 Dec 1;64(15):32. doi: 10.1167/iovs.64.15.32.