Glycine receptors are ligand-gated chloride channels that mediate inhibitory neurotransmission in the adult nervous system. During development, glycine receptor alpha 2 (GlyRalpha2) is expressed in the retina, in the spinal cord, and throughout the brain. Within the cortex, GlyRalpha2 is expressed in immature cells and these receptors have been shown to be active and excitatory. In the developing retina, inhibition of glycine receptor activity prevents proper rod photoreceptor development. These data suggest that GlyRalpha2, the developmentally expressed glycine receptor, may play an important role in neuronal development. We have generated mice with a targeted deletion of glycine receptor alpha 2 (Glra2). Although these mice lack expression of GlyRalpha2, no gross morphological or molecular alterations were observed in the nervous system. In addition, the cerebral cortex does not appear to require glycine receptor activity for proper development, as Glra2 knockout mice did not show any electrophysiological responses to glycine.
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