Conditional Deletion of Activating Protein 2 (AP-2 ) in the Developing Retina Demonstrates Non-Cell-Autonomous Roles for AP-2 in Optic Cup Development
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Activating protein 2alpha (AP-2alpha) is known to be expressed in the retina, and AP-2alpha-null mice exhibit defects in the developing optic cup, including patterning of the neural retina (NR) and a replacement of the dorsal retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) with NR. In this study, we analyzed the temporal and spatial retinal expression patterns of AP-2alpha and created a conditional deletion of AP-2alpha in the developing retina. AP-2alpha exhibited a distinct expression pattern in the developing inner nuclear layer of the retina, and colocalization studies indicated that AP-2alpha was exclusively expressed in postmitotic amacrine cell populations. Targeted deletion of AP-2alpha in the developing retina did not result in observable retinal defects. Further examination of AP-2alpha-null mutants revealed that the severity of the RPE defect was variable and, although defects in retinal lamination occur at later embryonic stages, earlier stages showed normal lamination and expression of markers for amacrine and ganglion cells. Together, these data demonstrate that, whereas AP-2alpha alone does not play an intrinsic role in retinogenesis, it has non-cell-autonomous effects on optic cup development. Additional expression analyses showed that multiple AP-2 proteins are present in the developing retina, which will be important to future studies.
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