Genetic control of retinal projections in inbred strains of albino mice

Dennis S. Rice, Robert Williams, Dan Goldowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Mutations in the tyrosinase gene are often associated with a misrouting of retinal ganglion cell axons at the optic chiasm. In albinos, tyrosinase activity is lost and some ganglion cell axons that would normally project into the ipsilateral optic tract instead cross midline and project into the contralateral tract. The developmental mechanisms that cause this modification in neuronal connectivity are unknown. In this study, we screened six diverse strains of albino mice (strains 129, A, AKR, BALB/c, C57BL/6‐c/c, and CD‐1) to discover genetically determined variations and possible gene loci that might affect the severity of the albino decussation abnormality. Ganglion cells were retrogradely labeled with horseradish peroxidase, and the ipsilaterally and contralaterally projecting cells were counted. The average number of ipsilaterally projecting ganglion cells in the six albino strains varies from 1,000 to 1,300. Despite this variation, 1.8–1.9% of the total population projects ipsilaterally in each strain. In comparison, 2.8% project ipsilaterally in the pigmented strain, C57BL/6‐+/+. However, the percentage of displaced, ipsilaterally projecting cells varies substantially among albino strains‐from a low of 4% in strain CD‐1 to a high of nearly 10% in C57BL/6‐c/c. We conclude that even with large differences in genetic background and in absolute numbers of ganglion cells, there is no appreciable variation in the magnitude of decussation error among albino mice. The consistent effect of null alleles at tyrosinase suggests a comparably tight linkage between the biochemical activity of this enzyme and the mechanisms that control decussation phenotype. © 1995 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-469
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Volume354
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995

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Inbred Strains Mice
Ganglia
Monophenol Monooxygenase
Axons
129 Strain Mouse
Optic Chiasm
Retinal Ganglion Cells
Horseradish Peroxidase
Genes
Cell Count
Alleles
Phenotype
Mutation
Enzymes
Population

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Genetic control of retinal projections in inbred strains of albino mice. / Rice, Dennis S.; Williams, Robert; Goldowitz, Dan.

In: Journal of Comparative Neurology, Vol. 354, No. 3, 01.01.1995, p. 459-469.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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