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S. K. Trowbridge, Y. F. Leung, J. E. Dowling; The Silverb Gene, Expressed in the Retinal Pigment Epithelium, Affects Retinal Development. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(13):1299.
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The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is essential for proper eye functioning and development. Defects in the RPE can lead to retinal degeneration and blindness. Despite the importance of the RPE, its interactions with the retina during early development are poorly understood. In the first genomic study of early RPE development, Leung et al. (2007) identified 78 genes that are differentially expressed in the zebrafish RPE at 52 hours post-fertilization (hpf). Six of these genes were selected for further study because of their potential importance in the developing RPE and its interactions with the retina.
All 6 genes are expressed in the RPE at 52hpf. Silvb is also expressed in the RPE at 24hpf and 36hpf. Embryos injected with silvb MO had an expanded choroid fissure, a phenotype first observed at 24hpf. Histological analysis of injected embryos at 52hpf and 60hpf showed problems in retinal differentiation; specifically, retinas lacked proper retinal lamination and morphological differentiation of photoreceptors.
The results confirm that 6 genes from the study by Leung et al. are differentially expressed in the RPE at 52hpf. Additionally, perturbation of expression of silvb, a gene expressed in the RPE during early eye development, severely affected the choroid fissure and retinal differentiation. This demonstrates the importance of an RPE-specific gene in proper retinal development
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