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Letter
Nature Genetics  34, 53 - 58 (2003)
Published online: 14 April 2003; | doi:10.1038/ng1144

Prox1 function controls progenitor cell proliferation and horizontal cell genesis in the mammalian retina

Michael A. Dyer1, 2, Frederick J. Livesey2, 3, Constance L. Cepko2 & Guillermo Oliver4

1  Department of Developmental Neurobiology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Memphis, Tennessee 38105, USA.

2  Department of Genetics and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

3  Wellcome/CRC Institute of Cancer and Developmental Biology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1QR, UK.

4  Department of Genetics, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Memphis, Tennessee 38105, USA.

Correspondence should be addressed to Constance L. Cepko cepko@rascal.med.harvard.edu or Guillermo Oliver guillermo.oliver@stjude.org
Retinal progenitor cells regulate their proliferation during development so that the correct number of each cell type is made at the appropriate time. We found that the homeodomain protein Prox1 regulates the exit of progenitor cells from the cell cycle in the embryonic mouse retina. Cells lacking Prox1 are less likely to stop dividing, and ectopic expression of Prox1 forces progenitor cells to exit the cell cycle. During retinogenesis, Prox1 can be detected in differentiating horizontal, bipolar and AII amacrine cells. Horizontal cells are absent in retinae of Prox1-/- mice and misexpression of Prox1 in postnatal progenitor cells promotes horizontal-cell formation. Thus, Prox1 activity is both necessary and sufficient for progenitor-cell proliferation and cell-fate determination in the vertebrate retina.


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Nature Genetics
ISSN: 1061-4036
EISSN: 1546-1718
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