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J Comp Neurol. 2008 Jul 10;509(2):225-38. doi: 10.1002/cne.21730.

The transcriptome of retinal Müller glial cells.

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Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Müller glial cells are the major type of glia in the mammalian retina. To identify the molecular machinery that defines Müller glial cell identity and function, single cell gene expression profiling was performed on Affymetrix microarrays. Identification of a cluster of genes expressed at high levels suggests a Müller glia core transcriptome, which likely underlies many of the functions of Müller glia. Expression of components of the cell cycle machinery and the Notch pathway, as well as of growth factors, chemokines, and lipoproteins might allow communication between Müller glial cells and the neurons that they support, including modulation of neuronal activity. This approach revealed a set of transcripts that were not previously characterized in (Müller) glia; validation of the expression of some of these genes was performed by in situ hybridization. Genes expressed exclusively by Müller glia were identified as novel markers. In addition, a novel BAC transgenic mouse that expresses Cre in Müller glia cells was generated. The molecular fingerprint of Müller glia provides a foundation for further studies of Müller glia development and function in normal and diseased states.

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