[PhD Thesis Public Presentation_Zoom] ‐ Mai Ahmed– “Investigating the Function of Strip1 in Ganglion Cell Survival and Neural Circuit Formation of the Developing Zebrafish Retina”
Presenter: Mai Ahmed
Supervisor: Prof. Ichiro Masai
Unit: Developmental Neurobiology Unit
Zoom URL: to be available 48 hours prior to the examination
Title: Investigating the Function of Strip1 in Ganglion Cell Survival and Neural Circuit Formation of the Developing Zebrafish Retina
In the vertebrate retina, an interplay between retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), amacrine and bipolar cells establishes a synaptic layer called the inner plexiform layer (IPL). This circuit conveys signals from photoreceptors to visual centers in the brain. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in its development remain poorly understood. Striatin-interacting protein 1 (Strip1) is a core component of the STRIPAK complex, and it has shown emerging roles in embryonic morphogenesis. Here, we uncover the importance of Strip1 in inner retina development. Using zebrafish, we show that loss of Strip1 causes defects in IPL formation. In strip1 mutants, RGCs undergo dramatic cell death shortly after birth. Amacrine and bipolar cells subsequently invade the degenerating RGC layer, leading to a disorganized IPL. Mechanistically, zebrafish Strip1 interacts with its STRIPAK partner, Striatin3, to promote RGC survival by suppressing Jun-mediated apoptosis. In addition to its function in RGC maintenance, Strip1 is required for RGC dendritic patterning, which likely promotes interaction between RGCs and ACs for IPL formation. Taken together, we propose that a series of Strip1-mediated regulatory events coordinates inner retinal circuit formation by maintaining RGCs during development, which ensures proper positioning and neurite patterning of inner retinal neurons.