February 1992
Volume 33, Issue 2
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Articles  |   February 1992
Temporal expression of the transthyretin gene in the developing rat eye.
Author Affiliations
  • R Mizuno
    Department of Neurology, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York.
  • T Cavallaro
    Department of Neurology, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York.
  • J Herbert
    Department of Neurology, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science February 1992, Vol.33, 341-349. doi:
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      R Mizuno, T Cavallaro, J Herbert; Temporal expression of the transthyretin gene in the developing rat eye.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1992;33(2):341-349.

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Abstract

Transthyretin (TTR) is a 55-kilodalton tetrameric protein that plays an important role in the plasma transport of thyroxine and retinol. Plasma TTR is synthesized in the liver, but major sites of synthesis also have been described in the choroid plexus (CP) epithelium, the visceral yolk sac, and the eye. Recently, the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) was identified as the specific site of TTR synthesis in the rat eye, and it was suggested that this established a functional homology between the RPE and the CP epithelium. In this study, the temporal pattern of TTR mRNA expression was investigated in the rat eye and brain during development (embryonic day 10 [e10]-postnatal day 7 [P7]) by in situ hybridization and quantitative densitometry. The TTR mRNA was present in abundance in the primordial CP before organogenesis (e10-12), but in the eye, TTR mRNA first was detected at considerably lower levels after organogenesis (e16) and only in a subset of RPE cells in the equatorial region. The relative abundance of TTR mRNA in RPE rose gradually until e21, but on the first day of life a surge was seen, followed by stabilization at adult levels by P7. These findings suggest that the requirement for TTR in CP and RPE, and possibly its function, may differ during development. The postnatal surge in RPE TTR message levels raises the possibility that transcription of the TTR gene in the newborn animal may be responsive to newly encountered environmental stimuli in the perinatal period, such as incident light.

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