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Y.G. Courtois, N. Leveziel, M. Yefimova, L. Jonet, M.M. Zakin, B. Baron, F. Guillou, J. Jeanny; The Ectopic Expression of Human Transferrin in Transgenic Mouse Retina . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2003;44(13):459.
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Purpose: Transferrin (Tf) has a profound role as an antioxidant and its involvement has been recently implicated in iron induced free radical formation in normal and retinal pathology (Yefimova et al, IOVS 2002). Methods: Transgenic mice with ß Galactosidase or human Tf driven by human Tf promotors have been developed. Tg mice were screened for the presence of ß gal (by immuno and enzymatic activities) or hTf (immuno) on retina sections at various ages after birth. Results: Different 5’ regions of the Tf gene, independently of their length, have given rise to several strains of mice, which overexpresses the transgenes. Immuno and enzymatic treatments of the adult retina sections demonstrated clearly the presence of ß galactosidase or human Tf mainly in Müller cells and in astrocytes. This is an ectopic expression of Tf since we confirmed, using antibodies against mouse Tf,, that endogenous Tf is expressed mostly exclusively in the retinal pigmented epithelial cells and localized on photoreceptor segment and RPE cells. Co-labeling with the different species specific antibodies confirmed these findings. In addition, a developmental study determined that hTF expression appeared in glial cells concomitantly with their differentiation. in the retina as in the brain (Zakin et al, Dev. Neuroscience (2002). In these mice, hTF was expressed in optic nerve and brain oligodendrocytes (Saleh et al, J. Neurosc. Res. In press) . Conclusions: The human Tf promotors used can drive the expression of foreign genes in retinal glial cells, mainly in Müller cells. Because of this ectopic expression, they must differ from the mouse promotors by an unknown element. However, these mice overexpressing hTF will be helpful to investigate if one can interfere with cell death induced by iron homeostasis impairment by targeting Muller cells.
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