Regeneration associated transcriptional signature of retinal microglia and macrophages

Diana M. Mitchell, Chi Sun, Samuel S. Hunter, Daniel D. New, Deborah L. Stenkamp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Zebrafish have the remarkable capacity to regenerate retinal neurons following a variety of damage paradigms. Following initial tissue insult and a period of cell death, a proliferative phase ensues that generates neuronal progenitors, which ultimately regenerate damaged neurons. Recent work has revealed that Müller glia are the source of regenerated neurons in zebrafish. However, the roles of another important class of glia present in the retina, microglia, during this regenerative phase remain elusive. Here, we examine retinal tissue and perform QuantSeq. 3′mRNA sequencing/transcriptome analysis to reveal localization and putative functions, respectively, of mpeg1 expressing cells (microglia/macrophages) during Müller glia-mediated regeneration, corresponding to a time of progenitor proliferation and production of new neurons. Our results indicate that in this regenerative state, mpeg1-expressing cells are located in regions containing regenerative Müller glia and are likely engaged in active vesicle trafficking. Further, mpeg1+ cells congregate at and around the optic nerve head. Our transcriptome analysis reveals several novel genes not previously described in microglia. This dataset represents the first report, to our knowledge, to use RNA sequencing to probe the microglial transcriptome in such context, and therefore provides a resource towards understanding microglia/macrophage function during successful retinal (and central nervous tissue) regeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4768
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


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