Photoreceptor cell death is the definitive cause of vision loss in retinal detachment (RD). Mammalian STE20-like kinase (MST) is a master regulator of both cell death and proliferation and a critical factor in development and tumorigenesis. However, to date the role of MST in neurodegeneration has not been fully explored. Utilizing MST1-/- and MST2-/- mice we identified MST2, but not MST1, as a regulator of photoreceptor cell death in a mouse model of RD. MST2-/- mice demonstrated significantly decreased photoreceptor cell death and outer nuclear layer (ONL) thinning after RD. Additionally, caspase-3 activation was attenuated in MST2-/- mice compared to control mice after RD. The transcription of p53 upregulated modulator of apoptosis (PUMA) and Fas was also reduced in MST2-/- mice post-RD. Retinas of MST2-/- mice displayed suppressed nuclear relocalization of phosphorylated YAP after RD. Consistent with the reduction of photoreceptor cell death, MST2-/- mice showed decreased levels of proinflammatory cytokines such as monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 and interleukin 6 as well as attenuated inflammatory CD11b cell infiltration during the early phase of RD. These results identify MST2, not MST1, as a critical regulator of caspase-mediated photoreceptor cell death in the detached retina and indicate its potential as a future neuroprotection target.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology
- Cancer Research