Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is considered a major role player in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy, yet the mechanisms regulating its expression are not fully understood. Our laboratory previously demonstrated that diabetes-induced VEGF expression in the retina was dependent on the repressor of mRNA translation 4E-BP1. Interaction of 4E-BP1 with the cap-binding protein eIF4E regulates protein expression by controlling the selection of mRNAs for translation. The process is regulated by the master kinase mTOR in complex 1 (mTORC1), which phosphorylates 4E-BP1, thus promoting its disassociation from eIF4E. In the present study, we investigated the role of the Akt/mTORC1 repressor REDD1 (regulated in development and DNA damage) in diabetes-induced VEGF expression. REDD1 expression was induced by hyperglycemia in the retina of diabetic rodents and by hyperglycemic conditions in Müller cells concomitant with increased VEGF expression. In Müller cells, hyperglycemic conditions attenuated global rates of protein synthesis and cap-dependent mRNA translation concomitant with up-regulated cap-independent VEGF mRNA translation, as assessed by a bicistronic luciferase reporter assay. Hyperglycemic conditions also attenuated mTORC1 signaling and enhanced 4E-BP1 binding to eIF4E. Furthermore, ectopic expression of REDD1 in Müller cells was sufficient to promote both increased 4E-BP1 binding to eIF4E and VEGF expression. Whereas the retina of wild-type mice exhibited increased expression of VEGF and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) 4 weeks after streptozotocin administration, the retina of REDD1 knock-out mice failed to do so. Overall, the results demonstrate that REDD1 contributes to the pathogenesis of diabetes in the retina by mediating the pathogenic effects of hyperglycemia.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology