Metabolic Alterations Caused by Simultaneous Loss of HK2 and PKM2 Leads to Photoreceptor Dysfunction and Degeneration

Cells. 2023 Aug 10;12(16):2043. doi: 10.3390/cells12162043.


HK2 and PKM2 are two main regulators of aerobic glycolysis. Photoreceptors (PRs) use aerobic glycolysis to produce the biomass necessary for the daily renewal of their outer segments. Previous work has shown that HK2 and PKM2 are important for the normal function and long-term survival of PRs but are dispensable for PR maturation, and their individual loss has opposing effects on PR survival during acute nutrient deprivation. We generated double conditional (dcKO) mice lacking HK2 and PKM2 expression in rod PRs. Western blotting, immunofluorescence, optical coherence tomography, and electroretinography were used to characterize the phenotype of dcKO animals. Targeted and stable isotope tracing metabolomics, qRT-PCR, and retinal oxygen consumption were performed. We show that dcKO animals displayed early shortening of PR inner/outer segments, followed by loss of PRs with aging, much more rapidly than either knockout alone without functional loss as measured by ERG. Significant alterations to central glucose metabolism were observed without any apparent changes to mitochondrial function, prior to PR degeneration. Finally, PR survival following experimental retinal detachment was unchanged in dcKO animals as compared to wild-type animals. These data suggest that HK2 and PKM2 have differing roles in promoting PR neuroprotection and identifying them has important implications for developing therapeutic options for combating PR loss during retinal disease.

PMID:37626853 | DOI:10.3390/cells12162043