Vimentin isoform expression in the human retina characterized with the monoclonal antibody 3CB2

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The antigen recognized by the monoclonal antibody 3CB2 (3CB2-Ag and 3CB2 mAb) is expressed by radial glia and astrocytes in the developing and adult vertebrate central nervous system (CNS) of vertebrates as well as in neural stem cells. Here we identified the 3CB2-Ag as vimentin by proteomic analysis of human glial cell line U-87 extracts (derived from a malignant astrocytoma). Indeed, the 3CB2 mAb recognized three vimentin isoforms in glial cell lines. In the human retina, 3CB2-Ag was expressed in Müller cells, astrocytes, some blood vessels, and cells in the horizontal cell layer, as determined by immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence. Three populations of astrocytes were distinguishable by double-labeling immunohistochemistry: vimentin+/GFAP+, vimentin−/GFAP+, and vimentin+/GFAP−. Hence, we conclude that 1) the 3CB2-Ag is vimentin; 2) vimentin isoforms are differentially expressed in normal and transformed astrocytes; 3) human retinal astrocytes display molecular heterogeneity; and 4) the 3CB2 mAb is a valuable tool to study vimentin expression and its function in the human retina.

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