Inhibition of N-Methyl-D-aspartate-induced Retinal Neuronal Death by Polyarginine Peptides Is Linked to the Attenuation of Stress-induced Hyperpolarization of the Inner Mitochondrial Membrane Potential.
It is widely accepted that overactivation of NMDA receptors, resulting in calcium overload and consequent mitochondrial dysfunction in retinal ganglion neurons, plays a significant role in promoting neurodegenerative disorders such as glaucoma. Calcium has been shown to initiate a transient hyperpolarization of the mitochondrial membrane potential triggering a burst of reactive oxygen species leading to apoptosis. Strategies that enhance cell survival signaling pathways aimed at preventing this adverse hyperpolarization of the mitochondrial membrane potential may provide a novel therapeutic intervention in retinal disease. In the retina, brain-derived neurotrophic factor has been shown to be neuroprotective, and our group previously reported a PSD-95/PDZ-binding cyclic peptide (CN2097) that augments brain-derived neurotrophic factor-induced pro-survival signaling. Here, we examined the neuroprotective properties of CN2097 using an established retinal in vivo NMDA toxicity model. CN2097 completely attenuated NMDA-induced caspase 3-dependent and -independent cell death and PARP-1 activation pathways, blocked necrosis, and fully prevented the loss of long term ganglion cell viability. Although neuroprotection was partially dependent upon CN2097 binding to the PDZ domain of PSD-95, our results show that the polyarginine-rich transport moiety C-R(7), linked to the PDZ-PSD-95-binding cyclic peptide, was sufficient to mediate short and long term protection via a mitochondrial targeting mechanism. C-R(7) localized to mitochondria and was found to reduce mitochondrial respiration, mitochondrial membrane hyperpolarization, and the generation of reactive oxygen species, promoting survival of retinal neurons.
Marshall, J; Wong, KY; Rupasinghe, CN; Tiwari, R; Zhao, X; Berberoglu, ED; Sinkler, C; Liu, J; Lee, I; Parang, K; Spaller, MR; Hüttemann, M; Goebel, DJ
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