Neuronatin is a stress-responsive protein of rod photoreceptors

Neuroscience. 2016 Jul 22;328:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2016.04.023. Epub 2016 Apr 21.

Abstract

Neuronatin (NNAT) is a small transmembrane proteolipid that is highly expressed in the embryonic developing brain and several other peripheral tissues. This study is the first to provide evidence that NNAT is detected in the adult retina of various adult rod-dominant mammals, including wild-type (WT) rodents, transgenic rodents expressing mutant S334ter, P23H, or T17M rhodopsin, non-human primates, humans, and cone-dominant tree shrews. Immunohistochemical and quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analyses were applied to detect NNAT. Confocal microscopy analysis revealed that NNAT immunofluorescence is restricted to the outer segments (OSs) of photoreceptors without evidence of staining in other retinal cell types across all mammalian species. Moreover, in tree shrew retinas, we found NNAT to be co-localized with rhodopsin, indicating its predominant expression in rods. The rod-derived expression of NNAT was further confirmed by qRT-PCR in isolated rod photoreceptor cells. We also used these cells to mimic cellular stress in transgenic retinas by treating them with the endoplasmic reticulum stress inducer, tunicamycin. Thus, our data revealed accumulation of NNAT around the nucleus as compared to dispersed localization of NNAT within control cells. This distribution coincided with the partial intracellular mislocalization of NNAT to the outer nuclear layer observed in transgenic retinas. In addition, stressed retinas demonstrated an increase of NNAT mRNA and protein levels. Therefore, our study demonstrated that NNAT is a novel stress-responsive protein with a potential structural and/or functional role in adult mammalian retinas.

Keywords: ER stress; autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa; neuronatin; retinal degeneration; rod photoreceptors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress / physiology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Rats, Transgenic
  • Retinal Degeneration / metabolism
  • Retinal Degeneration / pathology
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / metabolism*
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / pathology
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa / metabolism
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa / pathology
  • Species Specificity
  • Stress, Physiological / physiology*
  • Tunicamycin
  • Tupaiidae

Substances

  • Membrane Proteins
  • NNAT protein, human
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tunicamycin