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Eur J Neurosci. 2000 Oct;12(10):3575-82.

Expression of GABA(C) receptor rho1 and rho2 subunits during development of the mouse retina.

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Center for Neuroscience and Ageing, The Burnham Institute, 10901 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California 90237, USA.


Retinal gamma-aminobutyric acid type C (GABA(C)) receptors consist of rho subunits. Here we report our results from a competitive PCR and patch-clamp electrophysiology study quantifying rho subunit message and characterizing GABA(C) receptor-mediated currents at different stages of mouse retinal development. Mouse rho1 message is first detected at postnatal day 6 (P6), increases significantly until P9 and remains at this level through adulthood, whereas mouse rho2 message does not appear until P9, peaks at P15 and remains at this level through adulthood. There is an approximate twofold excess of rho1 compared to rho2 message at most stages of development, which persists in adulthood. Functional GABA(C) receptors are detected in acutely dissociated bipolar cells of P9 or older mouse retina. Early in development (P9-10), GABA(C) receptors are composed solely of rho1 subunits, but subsequently contain rho1 and/or rho2 subunits (by P11 and later). These findings are intriguing because the onset and rapid increase in rho subunit transcription and functional expression match the initiation and active period of bipolar cell differentiation in retinal development as well as the stage of eye opening and initial visual experience in the rodent. The investigation of mouse rho subunits here forms a basis for future studies on the role of GABA(C) receptors in retinal development.

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