Ectopic transgene expression in the retina of four transgenic mouse lines

Robert Gábriel, Ferenc Erdélyi, Gábor Szabó, J. Josh Lawrence, Márta Wilhelm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


Retinal expression of transgenes was examined in four mouse lines. Two constructs were driven by the choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) promoter: green fluorescent protein conjugated to tau protein (tau-GFP) or cytosolic yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) generated through CRE recombinase-induced expression of Rosa26 (ChAT-CRE/Rosa26YFP). Two other constructs targeted inhibitory interneurons: GABAergic horizontal and amacrine cells identified by glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD65-GFP) or parvalbumin (PV) cells (PV-CRE/Rosa26YFP). Animals were transcardially perfused and retinal sections prepared. Antibodies against PV, calretinin (CALR), calbindin (CALB), and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) were used to counterstain transgene-expressing cells. In PVxRosa and ChAT-tauGFP constructs, staining appeared in vertically oriented row of processes resembling Müller cells. In the ChATxRosa construct, populations of amacrine cells and neurons in the ganglion cell layer were labeled. Some cones also exhibited GFP fluorescence. CALR, PV and TH were found in none of these cells. Occasionally, we found GFP/CALR and GFP/PV double-stained cells in the ganglion cell layer (GCL). In the GAD65-GFP construct, all layers of the neuroretina were labeled, except photoreceptors. Not all horizontal cells expressed GFP. We did not find GFP/TH double-labeled cells and GFP was rarely present in CALR- and CALB-containing cells. Many PV-positive neurons were also labeled for GFP, including small diameter amacrines. In the GCL, single labeling for GFP and PV was ascertained, as well as several CALR/PV double-stained neurons. In the GCL, cells triple labeled with GFP/CALR/CALB were sparse. In conclusion, only one of the four transgenic constructs exhibited an expression pattern consistent with endogenous retinal protein expression, while the others strongly suggested ectopic gene expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3729-3741
Number of pages13
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2016


  • ChAT-CRE/Rosa26YFP
  • ChAT-tauGFP
  • Expression mismatch
  • GAD65-GFP
  • PV-CRE/Rosa26YFP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Histology

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