Differential regulation of a glial fibrillary acidic protein-LacZ transgene in retinal astrocytes and Muller cells

L. Verderber*, W. Johnson, L. Mucke, V. Sarthy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Purpose. Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) is normally expressed in astrocytes, but not in Muller cells, in the mouse retina. In response to retinal injury or photoreceptor degeneration, however, GFAP gene transcription is strongly activated in the Muller cell. To identify the genetic elements involved in GFAP gene induction, the authors have studied gene expression in transgenic mice in which β-galactosidase (β-gal) expression is under control of GFAP regulatory sequences. Methods. Histochemical methods were used to study gene expression. The transgene expression was followed by x-gal staining, whereas GFAP expression was monitored by immunostaining with GFAP antibody. Results. In GFAP-LacZ transgenic mice β-gal activity and GFAP immunostaining were found in retinal astrocytes. Transgene expression showed the same developmental pattern as that of endogenous GFAP in retinal astrocytes. In addition β-gal staining also was observed in lens epithelial cells. Neither GFAP nor β-gal expression was seen in Muller cells in the adult or developing retina. When focal retinal lesions were introduced into the retina, strong GFAP immunostaining was observed in Muller cells throughout the retina. No β-gal staining was seen in Muller cells in these retinas. In astrocytes, however, β-gal and GFAP both were present. Conclusions. The observations suggest that cis elements responsible for GFAP expression in retinal astrocytes are present in 5' flanking region of the GFAP gene, whereas the regulatory elements involved in GFAP induction in Muller cells are located elsewhere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1137-1143
Number of pages7
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1995


  • GFAP
  • Muller cell
  • gene induction
  • gliosis
  • transgenic mice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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