A search for POU domain transcription factors in human retina cDNA has led to the identification of Brn-3b, a class IV POU domain protein. Immunohistochemical experiments show that chicken, mouse, rabbit, monkey, and human retinas contain Brn-3b exclusively within a subpopulation of ganglion cells. In the adult mouse brain, Brn-3b is found only within cells in the deep layers of the superior colliculus, in the dorsal periaquaductal gray, and in a small cluster of cells in the brain stem near the area postrema. During the immediate postnatal period, cells containing Brn-3b are distributed in a number of regions within the brain stem and cerebellum. These data suggest that Brn-3b plays a role in determining and/or maintaining the identities of a small number of neurons, including a subset of visual system neurons.
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