Distribution of two splice variants of the glutamate transporter GLT1 in the retinas of humans, monkeys, rabbits, rats, cats, and chickens



Antibodies have been generated against two carboxyl-terminal splice variants of the glutamate transporter GLT1, namely, the originally described version of GLT1 and GLT1-B, and labelling has been examined in multiple species, including chickens and humans. Although strong specific labelling was observed in each species, divergent patterns of expression were noted. Moreover, each antibody was sensitive to the phosphorylation state of the appropriate protein, because chemical removal of phosphates using alkaline phosphatase revealed a broader range of labelled elements in most cases. In general, GLT1-B was present in cone photoreceptors and in rod and cone bipolar cells in the retinas of rabbits, rats, and cats. In the cone-dominated retinas of chickens and in marmosets, GLT1-B was associated only with cone photoreceptors, whereas, in macaque and human retinas, GLT1-B was associated with bipolar cells and terminals of photoreceptors. In some species, such as cats, GLT-B was also present in horizontal cells. By contrast, GLT1 distribution varied. GLT1 was associated with amacrine cells in chickens, rats, cats, and rabbits and with bipolar cells in marmosets and macaques. In the rat retina, rod photoreceptor terminals also contained GLT1, but this was evident only in enzymatically dephosphorylated tissues. We conclude that the two variants of GLT1 are present in all species examined but are differentially distributed in a species-specific manner. Moreover, each cell type generally expresses only one splice variant of GLT1. J. Comp. Neurol. 445:1–12, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.