The Immune Protein CD3ζ Is Required for Normal Development of Neural Circuits in the Retina

Hong ping Xu, Hui Chen, Qian Ding, Zheng Hua Xie, Ling Chen, Ling Diao, Ping Wang, Lin Gan, Michael C. Crair, Ning Tian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Emerging evidence suggests that immune proteins regulate activity-dependent synapse formation in the central nervous system (CNS). Mice with mutations in class I major histocompatibility complex (MHCI) genes have incomplete eye-specific segregation of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axon projections to the CNS. This effect has been attributed to causes that are nonretinal in origin. We show that a key component of MHCI receptor, CD3ζ, is expressed in RGCs. CD3ζ-deficient mice have reduced RGC dendritic motility, an increase in RGC dendritic density, and a selective defect of glutamate-receptor-mediated synaptic activity in the retina. Disrupted RGC synaptic activity and dendritic motility is associated with a failure of eye-specific segregation of RGC axon projections to the CNS. These results provide direct evidence of an unrecognized requirement for immune proteins in the developmental regulation of RGC synaptic wiring and indicate a possible retinal origin for the disruption of eye-specific segregation found in immune-deficient mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-515
Number of pages13
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 25 2010
Externally publishedYes



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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