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Development 2003 Apr 01;1308:1565-77. doi: 10.1242/dev.00391.
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A novel function for Hedgehog signalling in retinal pigment epithelium differentiation.

Perron M , Boy S , Amato MA , Viczian A , Koebernick K , Pieler T , Harris WA .

Sonic hedgehog is involved in eye field separation along the proximodistal axis. We show that Hh signalling continues to be important in defining aspects of the proximodistal axis as the optic vesicle and optic cup mature. We show that two other Hedgehog proteins, Banded hedgehog and Cephalic hedgehog, related to the mouse Indian hedgehog and Desert hedgehog, respectively, are strongly expressed in the central retinal pigment epithelium but excluded from the peripheral pigment epithelium surrounding the ciliary marginal zone. By contrast, downstream components of the Hedgehog signalling pathway, Gli2, Gli3 and X-Smoothened, are expressed in this narrow peripheral epithelium. We show that this zone contains cells that are in the proliferative state. This equivalent region in the adult mammalian eye, the pigmented ciliary epithelium, has been identified as a zone in which retinal stem cells reside. These data, combined with double labelling and the use of other retinal pigment epithelium markers, show that the retinal pigment epithelium of tadpole embryos has a molecularly distinct peripheral to central axis. In addition, Gli2, Gli3 and X-Smoothened are also expressed in the neural retina, in the most peripheral region of the ciliary marginal zone, where retinal stem cells are found in Xenopus, suggesting that they are good markers for retinal stem cells. To test the role of the Hedgehog pathway at different stages of retinogenesis, we activated the pathway by injecting a dominant-negative form of PKA or blocking it by treating embryos with cyclopamine. Embryos injected or treated at early stages display clear proximodistal defects in the retina. Interestingly, the main phenotype of embryos treated with cyclopamine at late stages is a severe defect in RPE differentiation. This study thus provides new insights into the role of Hedgehog signalling in the formation of the proximodistal axis of the eye and the differentiation of retinal pigment epithelium.

PubMed ID: 12620982
Article link: Development
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: acvr2b crx dhh gli1 gli2 gli3 ihh pax2 pax6 pou4f1 ptch1 ptch2 rpe shh smo vax2
Antibodies: Retina Ab1

Phenotypes: Xla Wt + Cyclopamine (Fig 7 B)

Article Images: [+] show captions