Mapping ribosomal RNA transcription activity in the mouse eye

Jiangchao Qian, Robert M. Lavker, Hung Tseng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


All cells must make ribosomes, in which rRNA transcription is the rate-limiting step; however, some cells may require more ribosomes than others. Cell-type specific regulation of rRNA synthesis has been largely ignored in the past, because of the inability to measure rRNA transcription rate in situ. Here we map rRNA transcription activity in individual cells in mouse ocular tissues detected by a novel in situ hybridization technique, which detects the full-length transcripts (47S pre-rRNA) as well as various rRNA processing intermediates. In the adult mouse eye, the corneal and lens epithelia and some retinal neurons contain a higher level of 47S pre-rRNA and rRNA processing intermediates, which are regulated developmentally in neonates prior to eye opening. In the cornea and lens epithelia, the higher rRNA level of 47S rRNA correlates with cell proliferation, which is consistent with the notion that dividing cells require more protein synthesis. Interestingly, in some retinal neurons, the high level of 47S pre-rRNA does not correlate with mature rRNA accumulation or protein synthesis, suggesting the existence of unappreciated biochemical needs of these cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1984-1993
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Dynamics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • Cell proliferation
  • Ocular development
  • Protein synthesis
  • Ribosome biogenesis
  • Transcription regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology

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