Activating the regenerative potential of Müller glia cells in a regeneration-deficient retina

  1. Katharina Lust
  2. Joachim Wittbrodt  Is a corresponding author
  1. Heidelberg University, Germany


Regeneration responses in animals are widespread across phyla. To identify molecular players that confer regenerative capacities to non-regenerative species is of key relevance for basic research and translational approaches. Here we report a differential response in retinal regeneration between medaka (Oryzias latipes) and zebrafish (Danio rerio). In contrast to zebrafish, medaka Müller glia (olMG) cells behave like progenitors and exhibit a restricted capacity to regenerate the retina. After injury, olMG cells proliferate but fail to self-renew and ultimately only restore photoreceptors. In our injury paradigm, we observed that in contrast to zebrafish, proliferating olMG cells do not maintain sox2 expression. Sustained sox2 expression in olMG cells confers regenerative responses similar to those of zebrafish MG (drMG) cells. We show that a single, cell-autonomous factor reprograms olMG cells and establishes a regeneration-like mode. Our results position medaka as an attractive model to delineate key regeneration factors with translational potential.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Katharina Lust

    Centre for Organismal Studies, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Joachim Wittbrodt

    Centre for Organismal Studies, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-8550-7377


European Commission (Advanced Grant 294354)

  • Joachim Wittbrodt

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.


Animal experimentation: Animal experimentation: Medaka (Oryzias latipes) and zebrafish (Danio rerio) stocks were maintained as closed stocks in a fish facility built according to the local animal welfare standards (Tierschutzgesetz 111, Abs. 1, Nr. 1), and animal experiments were performed in accordance with European Union animal welfare guidelines. The facility is under the supervision of the local representative of the animal welfare agency. Fish were maintained in a constant recirculating system at 28{degree sign}C with a 14 h light/10 h dark cycle (Tierschutzgesetz 111, Abs. 8 1, Nr. 1, Haltungserlaubnis AZ35-9185.64 and AZ35-9185.64/BH KIT).

Reviewing Editor

  1. Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado, Stowers Institute for Medical Research, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: September 26, 2017
  2. Accepted: January 26, 2018
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: January 29, 2018 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: February 16, 2018 (version 2)


© 2018, Lust & Wittbrodt

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


  • 3,548
    Page views
  • 480
  • 35

Article citation count generated by polling the highest count across the following sources: Crossref, Scopus, PubMed Central.

Download links

A two-part list of links to download the article, or parts of the article, in various formats.

Downloads (link to download the article as PDF)

Open citations (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services)

Cite this article (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools)

  1. Katharina Lust
  2. Joachim Wittbrodt
Activating the regenerative potential of Müller glia cells in a regeneration-deficient retina
eLife 7:e32319.

Further reading

    1. Cell Biology
    2. Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine
    Zhichao Zheng, Lihong Wu ... Janak L Pathak
    Research Article Updated

    MicroRNA-155 (miR155) is overexpressed in various inflammatory diseases and cancer, in which bone resorption and osteolysis are frequently observed. However, the role of miR155 on osteogenesis and bone mass phenotype is still unknown. Here, we report a low bone mass phenotype in the long bone of Mir155-Tg mice compared with wild-type mice. In contrast, Mir155-KO mice showed a high bone mass phenotype and protective effect against inflammation-induced bone loss. Mir155-KO mice showed robust bone regeneration in the ectopic and orthotopic model, but Mir155-Tg mice showed compromised bone regeneration compared with the wild-type mice. Similarly, the osteogenic differentiation potential of bone marrow stromal stem cells (BMSCs) from Mir155-KO mice was robust and Mir155-Tg was compromised compared with that of wild-type mice. Moreover, Mir155 knockdown in BMSCs from wild-type mice showed higher osteogenic differentiation potential, supporting the results from Mir155-KO mice. TargetScan analysis predicted sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor-1 (S1pr1) as a target gene of Mir155, which was further confirmed by luciferase assay and Mir155 knockdown. S1pr1 overexpression in BMSCs robustly promoted osteogenic differentiation without affecting cell viability and proliferation. Furthermore, osteoclastogenic differentiation of Mir155-Tg bone marrow-derived macrophages was inhibited compared with that of wild-type mice. Thus, Mir155 showed a catabolic effect on osteogenesis and bone mass phenotype via interaction with the S1pr1 gene, suggesting inhibition of Mir155 as a potential strategy for bone regeneration and bone defect healing.

    1. Developmental Biology
    2. Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine
    Megan M Colonnetta, Paul Schedl, Girish Deshpande
    Research Article

    In Drosophila melanogaster embryos, somatic versus germline identity is the first cell fate decision. Zygotic genome activation (ZGA) orchestrates regionalized gene expression, imparting specific identity on somatic cells. ZGA begins with a minor wave that commences at nuclear cycle (NC)8 under the guidance of chromatin accessibility factors (Zelda, CLAMP, GAF), followed by the major wave during NC14. By contrast, primordial germ cell (PGC) specification requires maternally deposited and posteriorly anchored germline determinants. This is accomplished by a centrosome coordinated release and sequestration of germ plasm during the precocious cellularization of PGCs in NC10. Here, we report a novel requirement for Zelda and CLAMP during the establishment of the germline/soma distinction. When their activity is compromised, PGC determinants are not properly sequestered, and specification is disrupted. Conversely, the spreading of PGC determinants from the posterior pole adversely influences transcription in the neighboring somatic nuclei. These reciprocal aberrations can be correlated with defects in centrosome duplication/separation that are known to induce inappropriate transmission of the germ plasm. Interestingly, consistent with the ability of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling to influence specification of embryonic PGCs, reduction in the transcript levels of a BMP family ligand, decapentaplegic (dpp), is exacerbated at the posterior pole.