Silencing of tuberin enhances photoreceptor survival and function in a preclinical model of retinitis pigmentosa (an American ophthalmological society thesis)

Stephen H. Tsang, Lawrence Chan, Yi Ting Tsai, Wen Hsuan Wu, Chun Wei Hsu, Jin Yang, Joaquin Tosi, Katherine J. Wert, Richard J. Davis, Vinit B. Mahajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Methods: In an unbiased genome-scale approach, kinase peptide substrate arrays were used to analyze self-survival pathways at the onset of photoreceptor degeneration. The mutant Pde6bH620Q/Pde6bH620Qat P14 and P18 photoreceptor outer segment (OS) lysates were labeled with P-ATP and hybridized to an array of 1,164 different synthetic peptide substrates. At this stage, OS of Pde6bH620Q/Pde6bH620Q rods are morphologically normal. In vitro kinase assays and immunohistochemistry were used to validate phosphorylation. Short hairpin RNA (shRNA) gene silencing was used to validate tuberin’s role in regulating survival.

Purpose: To assess the functional consequences of silencing of tuberin, an inhibitor of the mTOR signaling pathway, in a preclinical model of retinitis pigmentosa (RP) in order to test the hypothesis that insufficient induction of the protein kinase B (PKB)-regulated tuberin/mTOR self-survival pathway initiates apoptosis.

Results: At the onset of degeneration, 162 peptides were differentially phosphorylated. Protein kinases A, G, C (AGC kinases), and B exhibited increased activity in both peptide array and in vitro kinase assays. Immunohistochemical data confirmed altered phosphorylation patterns for phosphoinositide-dependent kinase-1 (PDK1), ribosomal protein S6 (RPS6), and tuberin. Tuberin gene silencing rescued photoreceptors from degeneration.

Conclusions: Phosphorylation of tuberin and RPS6 is due to the upregulated activity of PKB. PKB/tuberin cell growth/survival signaling is activated before the onset of degeneration. Substrates of the AGC kinases in the PKB/tuberin pathway are phosphorylated to promote cell survival. Knockdown of tuberin, the inhibitor of the mTOR pathway, increased photoreceptor survival and function in a preclinical model of R P.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-115
Number of pages13
JournalTransactions of the American Ophthalmological Society
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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