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Exp Eye Res. 2009 Mar;88(3):583-8. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2008.11.016. Epub 2008 Dec 3.

Robo1/robo4: different expression patterns in retinal development.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Peking University People's Hospital, Beijing, China.


Two members of the roundabout (Robo) family, Robo1 and Robo4, serve as neuronal guidance receptors. During neurogenesis, Robo1 and Robo4 participate in axonal guidance by mediating a repulsive signal. It has been reported that Robo4 is mainly expressed in the vasculature and that Robo1 is expressed both in neural and non-neural tissues. However, the roles of these Robo proteins in the mammalian vasculature are still unclear. In this current study, the expression patterns of Robo1 and Robo4 in the retinal vasculature were determined using C57BL/6J mice at postnatal days (P) 1, P3, P5, P7, P9, P12, P14, P17, P21 and adult mice (1month). We found that Robo4 was expressed not only in the retinal vessels but also in the retinal ganglion cell and photoreceptor layers during retinal development. Robo4 expression peaked at P3 and P9, which suggest that Robo4 may function in stabilizing the retinal vasculature. Robo1 expression was observed in the retina neuronal cells and vessels. Both Robo1 mRNA and protein expression showed a typical expression pattern, which related to Robo1's roles in the different stages of retinal vascular development in the murine retina. Robo1 displayed high expression levels at P1 (correlated with superficial vascular plexus formation) and P7 (correlated with deep vascular plexus formation). The high levels of Robo1 during these two well-defined phases of retinal capillary plexus formation indicate that Robo1 is likely to play a part in retinal neovascularization.

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