The retina is a thin layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye and plays a crucial role in vision. Like film in a camera, the retina’s job is to capture light and send visual information to the brain.
Now, for the first time, scientists have used a three-dimensional (3D) map to chart the organization of DNA within human retina cells. The map, which was created using state-of-the-art DNA sequencing and imaging techniques, provides unprecedented insight into the structure and function of the retina.
The results, published in the journal Nature, could help researchers better understand how the retina works and how it can be repaired if it is damaged.
“This is a landmark study that provides us with a new way of looking at the retina,” said co-senior author Eric Lander, director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. “By mapping the 3D organization of the genome in cells, we can begin to understand how the retina’s architecture enables it to carry out its remarkable functions.”
The retina is a complex tissue, made up of many different types of cells that each have distinct roles. To create the 3D map, the researchers first isolated individual retina cells and then used a technique called DNA sequencing to determine the location of every DNA molecule in each cell.
They then used a method called fluorescence microscopy to visualize thegenome in 3D.
The resulting map revealed that the DNA in retina cells is organized into distinct compartments, or domains, that vary in size and shape. These domains are each specialized for different functions, such as sensing light or sending electrical signals.
“Our study provides the first detailed view of how the retina’s genome is organized in three dimensions,” said co-first author Wei Wang, a postdoctoral researcher at the Broad Institute. “This knowledge will be critical for developing new ways to treat and prevent blinding diseases.”
The researchers also found that the 3D organization of the genome changes as the cells mature. For example, early in development, the genome is more open and accessible, which allows for more flexibility in gene expression. But as the cells mature, the genome becomes more compartmentalized, which helps to ensure that the cells carry out their specific functions.
“This study provides a new window into the complex inner workings of the retina,” said co-first author Jingyuan Zhou, a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard Medical School. “By understanding how the retina’s genome is organized, we can begin to develop new strategies for treating and preventing diseases of the eye.”
A new study has revealed the three-dimensional organization of DNA inside human retina cells. This is the first time that scientists have been able to map the three-dimensional organization of DNA inside cells from any tissue.
The human retina is a thin layer of tissue at the back of the eye that is responsible for converting light into electrical signals that are then sent to the brain. The retina is made up of several types of cells, including rods and cones.
Rods are responsible for night vision, while cones are responsible for color vision. The new study focused on rods, as they are the most common type of cell in the retina.
Scientists used a technique called Hi-C to map the three-dimensional organization of DNA inside human rod cells. Hi-C is a method of sequencing DNA that allows scientists to see how different parts of the genome are physically interacting with each other.
They found that the DNA in human rod cells is organized into two distinct layers. One layer is closer to the center of the cell, while the other layer is closer to the cell membrane.
The findings suggest that the DNA in human rod cells is organized into a three-dimensional structure that may be important for the function of these cells.
This study provides the first glimpse into the three-dimensional organization of DNA inside human cells and paves the way for future studies that could reveal the role that this organization plays in the function of different types of cells.