Multiple sclerosis (MS) is considered a chronic autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that leads to gliosis, demyelination, axonal damage and neuronal death. The MS disease aetiology is unknown, though a polymorphism of the TNFRSF1A gene, rs1800693, is known to confer an increased risk for MS. Using retroviral delivery of reprogramming transgenes, we generated six MS patient-specific iPSC lines with two distinct genotypes, CC or TT, of the polymorphism rs1800693. iPSC lines had normal karyotype, expressed pluripotency genes and differentiated into the three germ layers. These lines offer a good tool to study MS pathomechanisms and for drug testing.
At the optic chiasm choice point, ipsilateral retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) are repelled away from the midline by guidance cues, including Ephrin-B2 and Sonic Hedgehog (Shh). Although guidance cues are normally produced by cells residing at the choice point, the mRNA for Shh is not found at the optic chiasm. Here we show that Shh protein is instead produced by contralateral RGCs at the retina, transported anterogradely along the axon, and accumulates at the optic chiasm to repel ipsilateral RGCs. In vitro, contralateral RGC axons, which secrete Shh, repel ipsilateral RGCs in a Boc- and Smo-dependent manner. Finally, knockdown of Shh in the contralateral retina causes a decrease in the proportion of ipsilateral RGCs in a non-cell-autonomous manner. These findings reveal a role for axon-axon interactions in ipsilateral RGC guidance, and they establish that remotely produced cues can act at axon guidance midline choice points.
Horizontal cells in the mouse retina are of the axon-bearing B-type and contribute to the gain control of photoreceptors and to the center-surround organization of bipolar cells by providing feedback and feedforward signals to photoreceptors and bipolar cells, respectively. Horizontal cells form two independent networks, coupled by dendro-dendritic and axo-axonal gap junctions composed of connexin57 (Cx57). In Cx57-deficient mice, occasionally the residual tracer coupling of horizontal cell somata was observed. Also, negative feedback from horizontal cells to photoreceptors, potentially mediated by connexin hemichannels, appeared unaffected. These results point to the expression of a second connexin in mouse horizontal cells. We investigated the expression of Cx50, which was recently identified in axonless A-type horizontal cells of the rabbit retina. In the mouse retina, Cx50-immunoreactive puncta were predominantly localized on large axon terminals of horizontal cells. Electron microscopy did not reveal any Cx50-immunolabeling at the membrane of horizontal cell tips invaginating photoreceptor terminals, ruling out the involvement of Cx50 in negative feedback. Moreover, Cx50 colocalized only rarely with Cx57 on horizontal cell processes, indicating that both connexins form homotypic rather than heterotypic or heteromeric gap junctions. To check whether the expression of Cx50 is changed when Cx57 is lacking, we compared the Cx50 expression in wildtype and Cx57-deficient mice. However, Cx50 expression was unaffected in Cx57-deficient mice. In summary, our results indicate that horizontal cell axon terminals form two independent sets of homotypic gap junctions, a feature which might be important for light adaptation in the retina.