Vertebrate neural cell-fate determination: lessons from the retina

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2001 Feb;2(2):109-18. doi: 10.1038/35053522.


Postmitotic neurons are produced from a pool of cycling progenitors in an orderly fashion during development. Studies of cell-fate determination in the vertebrate retina have uncovered several fundamental principles by which this is achieved. Most notably, a model for vertebrate cell-fate determination has been proposed that combines findings on the relative roles of extrinsic and intrinsic regulators in controlling cell-fate choices. At the heart of the model is the proposal that progenitors pass through intrinsically determined competence states, during which they are capable of giving rise to a limited subset of cell types under the influence of extrinsic signals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Retina / growth & development
  • Retina / metabolism*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Transcriptional Activation / physiology*
  • Vertebrates / growth & development
  • Vertebrates / metabolism*


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Receptors, Notch