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Derek M. Waldner, Frank Visser, Andy J. Fischer, N. Torben Bech-Hansen, William K. Stell; Avian Adeno-Associated Viral Transduction of the Postembryonic Chicken Retina. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2019;8(4):1. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.8.4.1.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The posthatching chicken is a valuable animal model for research, but molecular tools needed for altering its gene expression are not yet available. Our purpose here was to adapt the adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector method, used widely in mammalian studies, for use in investigations of the chicken retina. We hypothesized that the recently characterized avian AAV (A3V) vector could effectively transduce chick retinal cells for manipulation of gene expression, after intravitreal or subretinal injection.
A3V encoding enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) was injected intravitreally or subretinally into P1-3 chick eye and left for 7 to 10 days. Retinas were then sectioned or flat-mounted and visualized via laser-scanning confocal microscopy for analysis of expression and imaging of retinal cells.
Intravitreal A3V-EGFP injection resulted in EGFP expression in a small percent of retinal cells, primarily those with processes and/or cell bodies near the vitreal surface. In contrast, subretinal injection of A3V-EGFP within confined retinal “blebs” produced high rates of transduction of rods and all types of cones. Some examples of all other major retinal cell types, including horizontal, amacrine, bipolar, ganglion, and Müller cells, were also transduced, although with much lower frequency than photoreceptors.
A3V is a promising tool for investigating chick retinal cells and circuitry in situ. This novel vector can be used for studies in which local photoreceptor transduction is sufficient for meaningful observations.
With this vector, the postembryonic chick retina can now be used for preclinical trials of gene therapy for prevention and treatment of human retinal disease.
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