Polo-Like Kinase 3 Appears Dispensable for Normal Retinal Development Despite Robust Embryonic Expression
During retinogenesis seven different cell types are generated in distinct yet overlapping timepoints from a population of retinal progenitor cells. Previously, we performed single cell transcriptome analyses of retinal progenitor cells to identify candidate genes that may play roles in the generation of early-born retinal neurons. Based on its expression pattern in subsets of early retinal cells, polo-like kinase 3 (Plk3) was identified as one such candidate gene. Further characterization of Plk3 expression by in situ hybridization revealed that this gene is expressed as cells exit the cell cycle. We obtained a Plk3 deficient mouse and investigated changes in the retina’s morphology and transcriptome through immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization and gene expression profiling. These experiments have been performed initially on adult mice and subsequently extended throughout retinal development. Although morphological studies revealed no consistent changes in retinogenesis upon Plk3 loss, microarray profiling revealed potential candidate genes altered in Plk3-KO mice. Further studies will be necessary to understand the connection between these changes in gene expression and the loss of a protein kinase such as Plk3.