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Characterization of multiple bistratified retinal ganglion cells in a purkinje cell protein 2-Cre transgenic mouse line

Ivanova, E;Lee, P;Pan, ZH;

Retinal ganglion cells are categorized into multiple classes, including multiple types of bistratified ganglion cells (BGCs). The recent use of transgenic mouse lines with specific type(s) of ganglion cells that are labeled by fluorescent markers has facilitated the morphological and physiological studies of BGCs, particularly the directional-selective BGCs. The most important benefit from using transgenic animals is the capability to perform in vivo gene manipulation. In particular, the Cre/LoxP recombination system has become a powerful tool, allowing gene deletion, overexpression, and ectopic expression in a cell type-specific and temporally controlled fashion. The key to this tool is the availability of Cre mouse lines with cell or tissue type-specific expression of Cre recombinase. In this study we characterized the Cre-positive retinal ganglion cells in a PCP2 (Purkinje cell protein 2)-cre mouse line. We found that all of the Cre-positive retinal ganglion cells were BGCs. Based on morphological criteria, we determined that they can be grouped into five types. The On- and Off-dendrites of three of these types stratified outside of the cholinergic bands and differed from directional selective ganglion cells (DSGCs) morphologically. These cells were negative for Brn-3b and positive for both calretinin and CART retina markers. The remaining two types were identified as putative On-Off and On-DSGCs. This Cre mouse line could be useful for further studies of the molecular and functional properties of BGCs in mice.