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Dev Biol 2007 Jun 01;3061:222-40. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2007.03.017.
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Alterations of rx1 and pax6 expression levels at neural plate stages differentially affect the production of retinal cell types and maintenance of retinal stem cell qualities.

rx1 and pax6 are necessary for the establishment of the vertebrate eye field and for the maintenance of the retinal stem cells that give rise to multiple retinal cell types. They also are differentially expressed in cellular layers in the retina when cell fates are being specified, and their expression levels differentially affect the production of amacrine cell subtypes. To determine whether rx1 and pax6 expression after the eye field is established simply maintains stem cell-like qualities or affects cell type differentiation, we used hormone-inducible constructs to increase or decrease levels/activity of each protein at two different neural plate stages. Our results indicate that rx1 regulates the size of the retinal stem cell pool because it broadly affected all cell types, whereas pax6 regulates more restricted retinal progenitor cells because it selectively affected different cell types in a time-dependent manner. Analysis of rx1 and pax6 effects on proliferation, and expression of stem cell or differentiation markers demonstrates that rx1 maintains cells in a stem cell state by promoting proliferation and delaying expression of neural identity and differentiation markers. Although pax6 also promotes proliferation, it differentially regulates neural identity and differentiation genes. Thus, these two genes work in parallel to regulate different, but overlapping aspects of retinal cell fate determination.

PubMed ID: 17434474
Article link: Dev Biol
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: atoh7 calb1 cdknx gal.2 neurod1 neurog1 notch1 pax2 pax6 rax six3 sox2 tbx2 znrd2
Antibodies: GABA Ab1

Article Images: [+] show captions