LIM-homeodomain (LIM-HD) transcription factors have been extensively studied for their role in the development of the central nervous system. Their function is key to several developmental events like cell proliferation, differentiation and subtype specification. However, their roles in retinal neurogenesis remain largely unknown. Here we report a detailed expression study of LIM-HD transcription factors LHX9 and LHX2, LHX3 and LHX4, and LHX6 in the developing and mature mouse retina using immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization techniques. We show that LHX9 is expressed during the early stages of development in the retinal ganglion cell layer and the inner nuclear layer. We also show that LHX9 is expressed in a subset of amacrine cells in the adult retina. LHX2 is known to be expressed in retinal progenitor cells during development and in Müller glial cells and a subset of amacrine cells in the adult retina. We found that the LHX2 subset of amacrine cells is not cholinergic and that a very few of LHX2 amacrine cells express calretinin. LHX3 and LHX4 are expressed in a subset of bipolar cells in the adult retina. LHX6 is expressed in cells in the ganglion cell layer and the neuroblast layer starting at embryonic stage 13.5 (E13.5) and continues to be expressed in cells in the ganglion cell layer and inner nuclear layer, postnatally, suggesting its likely expression in amacrine cells or a subset thereof. Taken together, our comprehensive assay of expression patterns of LIM-HD transcription factors during mouse retinal development will help further studies elucidating their biological functions in the differentiation of retinal cell subtypes.
Keywords: LIM-homeodomain; Lhx genes; Retinal development; Retinogenesis; Transcription factors.
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