Published on Sat Sep 11 2021

A transcriptome atlas of the mouse iris at single cell resolution defines cell types and the genomic response to pupil dilation

Nathans, J.

The iris controls the level of retinal illumination by controlling pupil diameter. It is a site of diverse ophthalmological diseases and a potential source of cells for ocular auto-transplantation. This study provides foundational data on the mouse iris based on single nucleus RNA sequencing.

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Abstract

The iris controls the level of retinal illumination by controlling pupil diameter. It is a site of diverse ophthalmological diseases, and it is a potential source of cells for ocular auto-transplantation. The present study provides foundational data on the mouse iris based on single nucleus RNA sequencing. More specifically, this work has (1) defined all of the major cell types in the mouse iris and ciliary body, (2) led to the discovery of two types of iris stromal cells and two types of iris sphincter cells, (3) revealed the differences in cell type-specific transcriptomes in the resting, constricted, and dilated states, and (4) identified and validated antibody and in situ hybridization probes that can be used to visualize the major iris cell types. By immunostaining for specific iris cell-types, we have observed and quantified distortions in nuclear morphology associated with iris dilation and clarified the neural crest contribution to the iris by showing that Wnt1-Cre-expressing progenitors contribute to nearly all iris cell types, whereas Sox10-Cre-expressing progenitors contribute only to stromal cells. This work should be useful as a point of reference for investigations of iris development, disease, and pharmacology, for the isolation and propagation of defined iris cell types, and for iris cell engineering and transplantation.