Boije H, Ring H, Shirazi Fard S, Grundberg I, Nilsson M, Hallböök F
J. Mol. Neurosci. 51 (2) 615-628 [2013-10-00; online 2013-06-04]
The proliferation, cell cycle exit and differentiation of progenitor cells are controlled by several different factors. The chromodomain protein mortality factor 4-like 1 (Morf4l1) has been ascribed a role in both proliferation and differentiation. Little attention has been given to the existence of alternative splice variants of the Morf4l1 mRNA, which encode two Morf41l isoforms: a short isoform (S-Morf4l1) with an intact chromodomain and a long isoform (L-Morf4l1) with an insertion in or in the vicinity of the chromodomain. The aim of this study was to investigate if this alternative splicing has a function during development. We analysed the temporal and spatial distribution of the two mRNAs and over-expressed both isoforms in the developing retina. The results showed that the S-Morf4l1 mRNA is developmentally regulated. Over-expression of S-Morf4l1 using a retrovirus vector produced a clear phenotype with an increase of early-born neurons: retinal ganglion cells, horizontal cells and cone photoreceptor cells. Over-expression of L-Morf4l1 did not produce any distinguishable phenotype. The over-expression of S-Morf4l1 but not L-Morf4l1 also increased apoptosis in the infected regions. Our results suggest that the two Morf4l1 isoforms have different functions during retinogenesis and that Morf4l1 functions are fine-tuned by developmentally regulated alternative splicing. The data also suggest that Morf4l1 contributes to the regulation of cell genesis in the retina.