Physiological significance of recombination-activating gene 1 in neuronal death, especially optic neuropathy

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Abstract

Although the transcription factor nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) is known to regulate cell death and survival, its precise role in cell death within the central nervous system remains unknown. We previously reported that mice with a homozygous deficiency for NF-κBp50 spontaneously develop optic neuropathy. The aim of the present study was to demonstrate the expression and activation of the proapoptotic factor(s) that mediate optic neuropathy in p50-deficient mice. Recombination-activating gene (Rag) 1 is known to activate the recombination of immunoglobulin V(D)J. In this study, experiments with genetically engineered mice revealed the involvement of Rag1 expression in apoptosis of Brn3a-positive retinal ganglion cells, and also demonstrated the specific effect of p50 deficiency on the activation of Rag1 gene transcription. Furthermore, genetic analysis of murine neuronal stem-like cells clarified the biological significance of Rag1 in N-methyl-d-aspartate-induced neuronal apoptosis. We also detected the apoptosis-regulating factors Bax and cleaved caspase 3, 8 and 9 in HEK293 cells transfected-molecule of Rag1, and a human histological examination revealed the expression of Rag1 in retinal ganglion cells. The results of the present study indicate that Rag1 plays a role in optic neuropathy as a proapoptotic candidate in p50-deficient mice. This finding may lead to new therapeutic targets in optic neuropathy.

Although the transcription factor NF-κB is known to regulate cell death and survival, its precise role in cell death within the central nervous system remains unknown. The result of the present study indicated that Rag1 played a role in optic neuropathy as a proapoptotic candidate in NF-κBp50-deficient mice. This result may lead to new therapeutic targets in optic neuropathy.

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