Background: In retinal degenerative disease, progressive and debilitating conditions result in deterioration of retinal cells and visual loss. In human, retina lacks the inherent capacity for regeneration. Therefore, regeneration of retinal layer from human retinal progenitor cells (hRPCs) is a challenging task and restricted in vitro maintenance of hRPCs remains as the main hurdle. Retina and anterior neural fold homeobox gene ( RAX ) play critical roles in developing retina and maintenance of hRPCs. In this study, for the first time regulatory regions of human RAX gene with potential promoter activity were experimentally investigated.
Results: For this purpose, after in silico analysis of regulatory regions of human RAX gene, the expression of EGFP reporter derived by putative promoter sequences was first evaluated in 293T cells and then in hRPCS derived from human embryonic stem cells. The candidate region ( RAX -3258bp) showed the highest EGFP expression in hRPCs. This reporter construct can be used for invitro monitoring of hRPC identity and verification of an efficient culture medium for maintenance of these cells.
Conclusions: Furthermore, our findings provide a platform for better insight into regulatory regions of human RAX gene and molecular mechanisms underlying its vital functions in retina development.