Glycine receptor subunits expression in the developing rat retina

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Background and methods:

Glycine receptor (GlyR) consists of two α (1–4) and three β subunits. Considerable evidence indicates that the adult retina expresses the four types of α subunits; however, the proportion of these subunits in adult and immature retina is almost unknown. In this report we have studied mRNA and the protein expression of GlyR subunits in the retina during postnatal rat development by Real-Time qRT-PCR and western blot.


mRNA and protein expression indicated a gradual increase of the α1, α3, α4 and β GlyR subunits during postnatal ages tested. The mRNA β subunit showed higher expression levels (˜3 fold) than those observed for the α1 and α3 subunits. Very interestingly, the α2 GlyR subunit had the highest expression in the retina, even in the adult.


These results revealed the expression of GlyR at early postnatal ages, supporting its role in retina development. In addition, our results indicated that the adult retina expressed a high proportion of the α2 subunit, suggesting the expression of monomeric and/or heteromeric receptors. A variety of studies are needed to further characterize the role of the specific subunits in both adult and immature retina.

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