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Exp Eye Res. 2000 Jun;70(6):711-22.

The spatial and temporal expression patterns of netrin receptors, DCC and neogenin, in the developing mouse retina.

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  • 1Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victoria, 3050, Australia.


Recently it has been demonstrated that the guidance of retinal ganglion cell (rgc) axons through the optic disc is dependent on the DCC/netrin-1 axonal guidance system. To gain further insight into the function of the netrin receptors, DCC and Neogenin, in retinal development we have studied the expression patterns of these receptors in the embryonic mouse retina. Neogenin mRNA was restricted to a single neural cell type, the rgc. However, strong Neogenin mRNA expression was observed in the extending fiber cells of the developing lens suggesting a role for Neogenin in the migration events shaping the early lens. Our studies demonstrated that DCC mRNA was expressed at high levels in chains of closely opposed neurons as they migrated towards the emerging mantle layer in the early retina (E12.5-E13.5) suggesting a role for DCC in the migration of neurons out of the ventricular zone. DCC protein expression was high on rgc axons as they actively navigated through the optic disc into the optic nerve. At birth, when the majority of rgc axons had projected through the optic disc, DCC protein was no longer detectable on the distal axonal segments within the optic nerve despite significant DCC protein expression on the proximal axonal membranes in the nerve fiber layer. These observations suggest that a localized down-regulation of DCC protein occurs on projecting axonal membranes once the DCC guidance function is no longer required. We also demonstrated that DCC mRNA and protein were expressed by amacrine cells and Müller glial cells while DCC mRNA was detected in horizontal cells. Taken together, these expression patterns suggest a role for DCC in axon outgrowth and/or pathfinding for a variety of retinal neurons and in the migration of newly born neurons within the developing retina.

Copyright 2000 Academic Press.

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