Conditional and biased regeneration of cone photoreceptor types in the zebrafish retina

Florence D. D'Orazi, Sachihiro C. Suzuki, Nicole Darling, Rachel O. Wong, Takeshi Yoshimatsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


A major challenge in regenerative medicine is replacing cells lost through injury or disease. While significant progress has been made, much remains unknown about the accuracy of native regenerative programs in cell replacement. Here, we capitalized on the regenerative capacity and stereotypic retinal organization of zebrafish to determine the specificity with which retinal Müller glial cells replace lost neuronal cell types. By utilizing a targeted genetic ablation technique, we restricted death to all or to distinct cone photoreceptor types (red, blue, or UV-sensitive cones), enabling us to compare the composition of cones that are regenerated. We found that Müller glia produce cones of all types upon nondiscriminate ablation of these photoreceptors, or upon selective ablation of red or UV cones. Pan-ablation of cones led to regeneration of the various cone types in relative abundances that resembled those of nonablated controls, that is, red > green > UV ~ blue cones. Moreover, selective loss of red or UV cones biased production toward the cone type that was ablated. In contrast, ablation of blue cones alone largely failed to induce cone production at all, although it did induce cell division in Müller glia. The failure to produce cones upon selective elimination of blue cones may be due to their low abundance compared to other cone types. Alternatively, it may be that blue cone death alone does not trigger a change in progenitor competency to support cone genesis. Our findings add to the growing notion that cell replacement during regeneration does not perfectly mimic programs of cell generation during development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2816-2830
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number17
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020


  • cone genesis
  • neuronal repair
  • nitro-reductase cell ablation
  • photoreceptor cell proliferation
  • retinal regeneration
  • zebrafish photoreceptors


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