Kinase activity profiling identifies putative downstream targets of cGMP/PKG signaling in inherited retinal neurodegeneration

Akanksha Roy, Arianna Tolone, Riet Hilhorst, John Groten, Tushar Tomar*, François Paquet-Durand*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Inherited retinal diseases (IRDs) are a group of neurodegenerative disorders that lead to photoreceptor cell death and eventually blindness. IRDs are characterised by a high genetic heterogeneity, making it imperative to design mutation-independent therapies. Mutations in a number of IRD disease genes have been associated with a rise of cyclic 3’,5’-guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) levels in photoreceptors. Accordingly, the cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG) has emerged as a new potential target for the mutation-independent treatment of IRDs. However, the substrates of PKG and the downstream degenerative pathways triggered by its activity have yet to be determined. Here, we performed kinome activity profiling of different murine organotypic retinal explant cultures (diseased rd1 and wild-type controls) using multiplex peptide microarrays to identify proteins whose phosphorylation was significantly altered by PKG activity. In addition, we tested the downstream effect of a known PKG inhibitor CN03 in these organotypic retina cultures. Among the PKG substrates were potassium channels belonging to the Kv1 family (KCNA3, KCNA6), cyclic AMP-responsive element-binding protein 1 (CREB1), DNA topoisomerase 2-α (TOP2A), 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-biphosphatase 3 (F263), and the glutamate ionotropic receptor kainate 2 (GRIK2). The retinal expression of these PKG targets was further confirmed by immunofluorescence and could be assigned to various neuronal cell types, including photoreceptors, horizontal cells, and ganglion cells. Taken together, this study confirmed the key role of PKG in photoreceptor cell death and identified new downstream targets of cGMP/PKG signalling that will improve the understanding of the degenerative mechanisms underlying IRDs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number93
JournalCell Death Discovery
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2022


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