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The immunolocalization of the plasma membrane calcium pump (PMCA) was studied in 4-week-old chick retina in comparison with calbindin D28K (CaBP) immunostaining. We have demonstrated that the monoclonal anti-PMCA antibody 5F10 from human erythrocyte plasma membrane crossreacts with a Ca2+ pump epitope of the cells from the neural retina. The immunolocalization of both proteins was also studied during the embryonic development of the chicken retina. At age 4.5 days, the cells of the retina were faintly immunoreactive to PMCA and CaBP antibodies, but the lack of cellular aggregation and differentiation did not allow discrimination between the two proteins. A clear difference in the localization was seen from the tenth day of development through post-hatching with slight variation. PMCA localized mainly in the outer and inner plexiform layers, in some cells in the ganglion layer, in the nerve fiber layer and slightly in the photoreceptor cells. CaBP was intensely stained in cones, cone pedicles and some amacrine cells. The number of CaBP positive amacrine cells declined after hatching. A few ganglion cells and several nerve fibers were CaBP 333 immunoreactive. The role of these proteins in the early stages of retinal development is unknown, but the results suggest that Ca2+ homeostasis in the retina is well regulated, probably to avoid excessive accumulation of Ca2+, which often leads to neurodegeneration.
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