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Neuroscience. 2009 Oct 6;163(2):662-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.07.002. Epub 2009 Jul 7.

Characterization of green fluorescent protein-expressing retinal cone bipolar cells in a 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 2a transgenic mouse line.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, 540 East Canfield Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.


Retinal bipolar cells relay visual information from photoreceptors to third-order retinal neurons. Bipolar cells, comprising multiple types, play an essential role in segregating visual information into multiple parallel pathways in the retina. The identification of molecular markers that can label specific retinal bipolar cells could facilitate the investigation of bipolar cell functions in the retina. Transgenic mice with specific cell type(s) labeled with green fluorescent protein (GFP) have become a powerful tool for morphological and functional studies of neurons in the CNS, including the retina. In this study, we report a 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 2a (5-HTR2a) transgenic mouse line in which expression of GFP was observed in two populations of bipolar cells in the retina. Based on the terminal stratification and immunostaining, all the strongly GFP-labeled bipolar cells were found to be type 4 cone bipolar cells. A small population of weakly labeled bipolar cells was also observed, which may represent type 8 or 9 cone bipolar cells. GFP expression in retinal cone bipolar cells was seen as early as postnatal day 5. In addition, despite severe retinal degeneration due to the presence of the rd1 mutation in this transgenic line, the density of GFP-labeled cone bipolar cells remained stable up to at least 6 months of age. This transgenic mouse line will be a useful tool for the study of type 4 cone bipolar cells in the retina under both normal and disease conditions.

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