TRPC5 regulates axonal outgrowth in developing retinal ganglion cells

Lab Invest. 2020 Feb;100(2):297-310. doi: 10.1038/s41374-019-0347-1. Epub 2019 Dec 16.


The TRPC5 ion channel is activated upon depletion of intracellular calcium stores, as well as by various stimuli such as nitric oxide (NO), membrane stretch, and cold temperatures. TRPC5 is abundantly expressed in the central nervous system where it has important neuronal functions. In the chick retina, TRPC5 expression was shown to be restricted to amacrine cells (ACs) and Müller glial cells, although its expression was also observed in the ganglion cell layer (GCL) in displaced ACs, as determined by their characteristic cell morphology. However, it is possible that this expression analysis alone might be insufficient to fully understand the expression of TRPC5 in retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Hence, we analyzed TRPC5 expression by in situ hybridization and immunostaining in the developing mouse retina, and for the first time identified that developing and mature RGCs strongly express TRPC5. The expression begins at E14.5, and is restricted to ACs and RGCs. It was reported that TRPC5 negatively regulates axonal outgrowth in hippocampal neurons. We thus hypothesized that TRPC5 might have similar functions in RGCs since they extend very long axons toward the brain, and this characteristic significantly differs from other retinal cell types. To elucidate its possible involvement in axonal outgrowth, we inhibited TRPC5 activity in developing RGCs which significantly increased RGC axon length. In contrast, overexpression of TRPC5 inhibited axonal outgrowth in developing RGCs. These results indicate that TRPC5 is an important negative regulator of RGC axonal outgrowth. Since TRPC5 is a mechanosensor, it might function to sense abnormal intraocular pressure changes, and could contribute to the death of RGCs in diseases such as glaucoma. In this case, excessive Ca2+ entry through TRPC5 might induce dendritic and axonal remodeling, which could lead to cell death, as our findings clearly indicate that TRPC5 is an important regulator of neurite remodeling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amacrine Cells / cytology
  • Amacrine Cells / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Female
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Retina / metabolism*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells* / cytology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells* / metabolism
  • TRPC Cation Channels* / analysis
  • TRPC Cation Channels* / genetics
  • TRPC Cation Channels* / metabolism


  • TRPC Cation Channels
  • Trpc5 protein, mouse
  • Calcium