Navigation Links
UCSB scientists make strides in vision research
Date:5/20/2011

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) New research at UC Santa Barbara is contributing to the basic biological understanding of how retinas develop. The study is part of the campus's expanding vision research.

The new studies are published in recent online versions of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), and Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science (IOVS).

The scientists document how they used mice as a research model organism to show that the size of different populations of retinal neurons display wide-ranging variability among individuals. In the PNAS article, they demonstrate a nearly two-fold variation in the number of interneurons called horizontal cells. In the IOVS article, they report a conspicuous variation in the number of cone photoreceptors.

"These studies individually demonstrate the genetic determinants of nerve cell number," said Benjamin E. Reese, senior author and professor with the Neuroscience Research Institute and the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. "Together, they show that different nerve cell types are modulated independent of one another."

Using recombinant inbred mice, Irene Whitney, graduate student and first author of both articles, and Mary Raven, staff scientist and co-author, have been able to identify genomic loci where polymorphic genes must contribute to such natural variation. In the IOVS article, they describe this natural variation for the population of cone photoreceptors, and identify two potential causal genes that may modulate cone photoreceptor production on chromosome 10.

In the PNAS article, the scientists working will colleagues from four other U.S. institutions identify a promising candidate gene at a locus on chromosome 13, a transcription factor gene called Islet-1. This gene was confirmed to be critical for regulating horizontal cell number in genetically modified mice, in which the Islet-1 gene was rendered nonfunctional. The scientists verified that expression of this gene differs between these strains of mice during the developmental period when horizontal cells are produced. They also showed that the source of this variable expression must be due to a genetic variant within a regulatory region of the gene itself. Finally, they identified such a single nucleotide polymorphism creating an E-box, a DNA sequence bound by a family of transcription factors that have recently been shown to play a role in retinal development.

The team explained that such natural variation in the ratio of nerve cells requires a degree of plasticity in the process of forming neural connectivity, to ensure that the entire visual field is served by neural circuits that mediate our visual abilities. A series of other published and submitted studies from the Reese lab document this very plasticity in different strains of mice and in genetically modified mice.

Efforts to use genetic engineering and stem cell biology to repair diseased retinas depend upon a fuller appreciation of the developmental biology of the retina, explained Reese.

"These particular studies are just one contribution in an enormously complex process," said Reese. "Our fundamental interest is in the development the retina how you 'build' this neural tissue that, when fully mature, will mediate our visual abilities."

Vision research at UCSB has been steadily expanding in recent decades. "Since I arrived here in 1971, UCSB's vision research has grown to include dozens of scientists, in a number of labs, contributing to an explosion of research in the field," said Steven Fisher, professor emeritus in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, and professor in the Neuroscience Research Institute.


'/>"/>

Contact: Gail Gallessich
gail.g@ia.ucsb.edu
805-893-7220
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Southampton scientists to help create a sustainable energy system for the UK
2. Nottingham scientists reveal genetic wiring of seeds
3. Scientists discover switch to speed up stem cell production
4. UCSB scientists track environmental influences on giant kelp with help from satellite data
5. Scientists at the Ecological Society of Americas 2011 Annual Meeting to discuss global stewardship
6. AgriLife Research scientists work with RNA silencing and plant stem cells
7. Scientists find new class of compounds with great potential for research and drug development
8. Cancer scientists discover new way breast cancer cells adapt to environmental stress
9. Yale scientists discover new method for engineering human tissue regeneration
10. NRELs multi-junction solar cells teach scientists how to turn plants into powerhouses
11. UGA scientists discover missing links in the biology of cloud formation over the oceans
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
UCSB scientists make strides in vision research
(Date:3/21/2016)... WAKEFIELD, Massachusetts , March 22, 2016 ... and facial recognition with passcodes for superior security ... MESG ), a leading provider of secure digital communications ... pilot their biometric technology and offer enterprise customers, particularly ... provide secure facial recognition and voice authentication within a ...
(Date:3/17/2016)... 17, 2016 ABI Research, the leader ... global biometrics market will reach more than $30 ... from 2015. Consumer electronics, particularly smartphones, continue to ... anticipated to reach two billion shipments by 2021 ... Pavlakis , Research Analyst at ABI Research. "Surveillance ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... 15, 2016 Yissum Research Development Company ... company of the Hebrew University, announced today the formation ... technology of various human biological indicators. Neteera Technologies has ... from private investors. ... detection of electromagnetic emissions from sweat ducts, enables reliable ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)... 2016  Dr. Thomas P. McHugh , an ... The Woodlands, Texas , now offers SculpSure, the ... fat cells in just 25-minutes, leaving a slimmer figure ... of Americans report feeling bothered by excess weight and ... are a growing industry. This innovative new approach to ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... -- Q BioMed Inc. (QBIO), a biotechnology ... Inc. will be attending the Association for Research in ... 1-5, 2016 in Seattle Washington . ... and research partners. The meeting provides organizations the opportunity ... opportunities for the MAN-01 program for treatment of glaucoma. ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... ... the pre-launch success of their revolutionary, veterinarian-designed product for indoor cats. The NoBowl ... and play with their food the way nature intended. NoBowls make cats happy ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... medical devices used in spinal surgical procedures, today announced the completion of a ... value proposition for current and future customers and partners. Kohlberg & Company, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: