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Sergio Groman-Lupa, Joseph Adewumi, Ko Uoon Park, Joseph A. Brzezinski IV; The Transcription Factor Prdm16 Marks a Single Retinal Ganglion Cell Subtype in the Mouse Retina. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(12):5421-5433. doi: 10.1167/iovs.17-22442.
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Retinal ganglion cells (RGC) can be categorized into roughly 30 distinct subtypes. How these subtypes develop is poorly understood, in part because few unique subtype markers have been characterized. We tested whether the Prdm16 transcription factor is expressed by RGCs as a class or within particular ganglion cell subtypes.
Embryonic and mature retinal sections and flatmount preparations were examined by immunohistochemistry for Prdm16 and several other cell type-specific markers. To visualize the morphology of Prdm16+ cells, we utilized Thy1-YFP-H transgenic mice, where a small random population of RGCs expresses yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) throughout the cytoplasm.
Prdm16 was expressed in the retina starting late in embryogenesis. Prdm16+ cells coexpressed the RGC marker Brn3a. These cells were arranged in an evenly spaced pattern and accounted for 2% of all ganglion cells. Prdm16+ cells coexpressed parvalbumin, but not calretinin, melanopsin, Smi32, or CART. This combination of marker expression and morphology data from Thy1-YFP-H mice suggested that the Prdm16+ cells represented a single ganglion cell subtype. Prdm16 also marked vascular endothelial cells and mural cells of retinal arterioles.
A single subtype of ganglion cell appears to be uniquely marked by Prdm16 expression. While the precise identity of these ganglion cells is unclear, they most resemble the G9 subtype described by Völgyi and colleagues in 2009. Future studies are needed to determine the function of these ganglion cells and whether Prdm16 regulates their development.
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