Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2023 May 1;64(5):9. doi: 10.1167/iovs.64.5.9.
PURPOSE: To reveal the molecular mechanism underlying degeneration in human retinal pigment epithelial (hRPE) cells with dysfunctional mitochondrial homeostasis.
METHODS: The expression of recently identified miR-494-3p in extracellular vesicles (EV) released from induced-pluripotential-stem-cell-derived human RPE (iPS-hRPE), during coculture with macrophages (Mps) was investigated in iPS-hRPE and ARPE cells differentiated in the presence of nicotinamide (Nic-ARPE). The expression of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), sirtuin3 (SIRT3), and mitochondrial marker proteins before and after the transfection of miR-494-3p inhibitor and mimic, and the changes in mitochondrial metabolism, membrane potential, and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) were monitored.
RESULTS: Compared with senescent dedifferentiated ARPE19 cells, iPS-hRPE and Nic-ARPE cells expressed elevated levels of mitochondrial marker proteins but a repressed cellular miR-494-3p level. The expression of target proteins of miR-494-3p, PTEN, and SIRT3 was upregulated along with the differentiation disposition of these RPE cells. The ratio of PTEN/SIRT3 in de-differentiated ARPE19 cells was surprisingly elevated by around 20 times compared with that in iPS-hRPE and Nic-ARPE cells. The novel molecular interplay of EV miR-494-3p either with mitochondria selective SIRT3 or organelle nonselective PTEN was found to participate in the degeneration of hRPE cells by inducing mitochondrial dysfunctions and repressed OXPHOS, mitochondrial membrane potential, and ATP and NAD+ production.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate a clear causal link between miR-494-3p and hRPE cell degeneration via the regulation of mitochondrial integrity. EV miR-494-3p may play a pivotal role in pathogenic spreading of degenerated hRPE cells from the local perifovea throughout the macula.