In the mammalian retina, rods and a specialised rod-driven signalling pathway mediate visual responses under scotopic (dim light) conditions. As rods primarily signal to rod bipolar cells (RBCs) under scoptic conditions, disorders that affect rod or RBC function are often associated with impaired night vision. To identify novel genes expressed by RBCs and, therefore, likely to be involved in night vision, we took advantage of the adult Bhlhe23 -/- mouse retina (that lacks RBCs) to derive the RBC transcriptome. We found that genes expressed by adult RBCs are mainly involved in synaptic structure and signalling, whereas genes that influence RBC development are also involved in the cell cycle and transcription/translation. By comparing our data with other published retinal and bipolar cell transcriptomes (where we identify RBCs by the presence of Prkca and/or Pcp2 transcripts), we have derived a consensus for the adult RBC transcriptome. These findings ought to facilitate further research into physiological mechanisms underlying mammalian night vision as well as proposing candidate genes for patients with inherited causes of night blindness.
- Gene expression
- Functional clustering