Amacrine cells constitute a diverse, yet poorly characterized, cell population in the inner retina. Here, the authors sought to characterize the morphology, molecular physiology, and electrophysiology of a subpopulation of EGFP-expressing retinal amacrine cells identified in a novel zebrafish transgenic line.
After 7.2 kb of the zebrafish mab21l2 promoter was cloned upstream of EGFP, it was used to create the Tg(7.2mab21l2:EGFP)ucd2 transgenic line. Transgenic EGFP expression was analyzed by fluorescence microscopy in whole mount embryos, followed by detailed analysis of EGFP-expressing amacrine cells using fluorescence microscopy, immunohistochemistry, and electrophysiology.
A 7.2-kb fragment of the mab21l2 promoter region is sufficient to drive transgene expression in the developing lens and tectum. Intriguingly, EGFP was also observed in differentiated amacrine cells. EGFP-labeled amacrine cells in Tg(7.2mab21l2:EGFP)ucd2 constitute a novel GABA- and glycine-negative amacrine subpopulation. Morphologically, EGFP-expressing cells stratify in sublamina 1 to 2 (type 1 OFF) or sublamina 3 to 4 (type 1 ON) or branch diffusely (type 2). Electrophysiologically, these cells segregate into amacrine cells with somas in the vitreal part of the INL and linear responses to current injection or, alternatively, amacrine cells with somas proximal to the IPL and active oscillatory voltage signals.
The novel transgenic line Tg(7.2mab21l2:EGFP)
ucd2 uncovers a unique subpopulation of retinal amacrine cells.