Dual requirement for Pax6 in retinal progenitor cells

Varda Oron-Karni, Chen Farhy, Michael Elgart, Till Marquardt, Lena Remizova, Orly Yaron, Qing Xie, Ales Cvekl, Ruth Ashery-Padan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Throughout the developing central nervous system, pre-patterning of the ventricular zone into discrete neural progenitor domains is one of the predominant strategies used to produce neuronal diversity in a spatially coordinated manner. In the retina, neurogenesis proceeds in an intricate chronological and spatial sequence, yet it remains unclear whether retinal progenitor cells (RPCs) display intrinsic heterogeneity at any given time point. Here, we performed a detailed study of RPC fate upon temporally and spatially confined inactivation of Pax6. Timed genetic removal of Pax6 appeared to unmask a cryptic divergence of RPCs into qualitatively divergent progenitor pools. In the more peripheral RPCs under normal circumstances, Pax6 seemed to prevent premature activation of a photoreceptor-differentiation pathway by suppressing expression of the transcription factor Crx. More centrally, Pax6 contributed to the execution of the comprehensive potential of RPCs: Pax6 ablation resulted in the exclusive generation of amacrine interneurons. Together, these data suggest an intricate dual role for Pax6 in retinal neurogenesis, while pointing to the cryptic divergence of RPCs into distinct progenitor pools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4037-4047
Number of pages11
Issue number24
StatePublished - 2008


  • Cre/loxP
  • Crx
  • Pax6
  • Retinal progenitor cells
  • Retinogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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