Rax: Developmental and Daily Expression Patterns in the Rat Pineal Gland and Retina

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Retina and anterior neural fold homeobox (Rax) gene encodes a transcription factor essential for vertebrate eye development. Recent microarray studies indicate that Rax is expressed in the adult rat pineal gland and retina. The present study reveals that Rax expression levels in the rat change significantly during retinal development with a peak occurring at embryonic day (E) 18, whereas Rax expression in the pineal is relatively delayed and not detectable until E20. In both tissues, Rax is expressed throughout postnatal development into adulthood. In the mature rat pineal gland, the abundance of Rax transcripts increases 2-fold during the light period with a peak occurring at dusk. These findings are consistent with the evidence that Rax is of functional importance in eye development and suggest a role of Rax in the developing pineal gland. In addition, it would appear possible that Rax contributes to phenotype maintenance in the mature retina and pineal gland and may facilitate 24-h changes in the pineal transcriptome.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)999-1007
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2011

ID: 33855232