Expression patterns of phospholipase D1 (PLD1) in the developing rat retina were investigated using immunocytochemistry and Western blot analysis and compared with the expression patterns of glutamine synthetase. PLD1 immunoreactivity appeared first in a few neuroblasts in the middle of the mantle zone of the primitive retina by embryonic (E) day 13. PLD1-immunoreactive primitive ganglion cells were characterized in the ganglion cell layer by E17. Faint immunoreactivity at E17 profiled radially orientated cells and this pattern appeared up to postnatal (P) day 7. In the ganglion cell layer at P3, displaced amacrine cells and ganglion cells were classified. At P5, presumptive horizontal cells and amacrine cells were identified. By P7, a thin outermost layer of newly formed segments of the photoreceptor cells was also PLD1 immunoreactive. PLD1 immunoreactivity at P8 was limited to radial Müller cells and the outer segment layer of the photoreceptor cells, and the expression pattern was conserved to adulthood. Western blot analysis showed relatively high amounts of PLD1 protein at E17 and P3, a decrease at P7, and moderate amounts from P8 onward. Co-expression of PLD1 with glutamine synthetase in the retina appeared first after birth in differentiating neurons and in Müller cells by P8; thereafter the pattern was maintained. The expression pattern of the PLD1 during development of the retina suggests that PLD1 plays important roles in glutamate-associated differentiation of both specific neurons and radial glial cells, and in glutamate-mediated cellular signalling in Müller cells.
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