Article

Specification of the vertebrate eye by a network of eye field transcription factors

Università di Pisa, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy
Development (Impact Factor: 6.27). 12/2003; 130(21):5155-67. DOI: 10.1242/dev.00723
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Several eye-field transcription factors (EFTFs) are expressed in the anterior region of the vertebrate neural plate and are essential for eye formation. The Xenopus EFTFs ET, Rx1, Pax6, Six3, Lhx2, tll and Optx2 are expressed in a dynamic, overlapping pattern in the presumptive eye field. Expression of an EFTF cocktail with Otx2 is sufficient to induce ectopic eyes outside the nervous system at high frequency. Using both cocktail subsets and functional (inductive) analysis of individual EFTFs, we have revealed a genetic network regulating vertebrate eye field specification. Our results support a model of progressive tissue specification in which neural induction then Otx2-driven neural patterning primes the anterior neural plate for eye field formation. Next, the EFTFs form a self-regulating feedback network that specifies the vertebrate eye field. We find striking similarities and differences to the network of homologous Drosophila genes that specify the eye imaginal disc, a finding that is consistent with the idea of a partial evolutionary conservation of eye formation.

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