Brain factor 1 (BF-1) is a winged-helix transcription factor with restricted expression in the anterior optic vesicle and in the telencephalic neuroepithelium of the neural tube. We have previously found that targeted disruption of the BF-1 gene results in hypoplasia of the cerebral hemispheres, which is more severe in structures derived from the ventral telencephalon. Here we show that the loss of BF-1 leads to multiple developmental anomalies of the eyes. The most ventral structure arising from the optic vesicle, the optic stalk, is missing and is replaced by an expanded retina. Ventral closure of the optic cup and choroid fissure does not occur. These dorsal-ventral patterning defects are not limited to the BF-1-expressing (anterior) cells, but also involve the cells of the posterior optic vesicle. Sonic hedgehog (shh) expression within the ventral telencephalic neuroepithelium is specifically lost in the BF-1(-/-) mutant. Taken together, these findings suggest that shh produced at this site plays a role in patterning the developing eye. This localized deficit in shh expression may also contribute to the prominence of the ventral defects in the telencephalon of the BF-1(-/-) mutant.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.