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ZBED4, a cone and Müller cell protein in human retina, has a different cellular expression in mouse.



ZBED4, a protein in cones and Müller cells of human retina, may play important functions as a transcriptional activator of genes expressed in those cells or as a co-activator/repressor of their nuclear hormone receptors. To begin investigating these potential roles of ZBED4, we studied the developmental expression and localization of both the Zbed4 mRNA and protein of mouse retina.


northern blots showed the presence of Zbed4 mRNA in retina and other mouse tissues, and western blots showed the nuclear and cytoplasmic expression of Zbed4 at different developmental times. Antibodies against Zbed4 and specific retinal cell markers were used for retinal immunohistochemistry.


Zbed4 mRNA was present at different levels in all the mouse tissues analyzed. The Zbed4 protein was barely detectable at embryonic day (E)14.5 but was clearly seen at E16 at both retinal outer and vitreal borders and throughout the retina by E18 and postnatal day 0 (P0). Thereafter, Zbed4 expression was more restricted to the inner retina. While ZBED4 is localized in cones and endfeet of Müller cells of human retina, in adult mouse retina Zbed4 is only detected in Müller cell endfeet and processes. The same localization of Zbed4 was observed in rat retina. In early development, Zbed4 is mainly present in the nuclear fraction of the mouse retina, and in adulthood it becomes more enriched in the cytoplasmic fraction.


The patterns of spatial and temporal expression of Zbed4 in the mouse retina suggest a possible involvement of this protein in retinal morphogenesis and Müller cell function.

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