Generating neuronal diversity in the retina: one for nearly all

Trends Neurosci. 2002 Jan;25(1):32-8. doi: 10.1016/s0166-2236(00)02028-2.


Visual perception of our environment essentially depends on the correct assembly of seven principal cell types into the functional architecture of the neuroretina. During retinogenesis these cell types derive from a common population of multipotent retinal progenitor cells (RPCs) residing in the inner layer of the optic cup. In contrast to other well studied regions of the developing CNS, retinal cell diversification is apparently not achieved by spatial prepatterning into distinct progenitor domains, but rather by the sequential production of cell types in a defined histogenetic order. Several lines of evidence suggest that this observation reflects substantial intrinsic changes in the retinogenic potential of RPCs. Recent advances, however, point at the existence of a common molecular framework underlying the retinogenic potential of RPCs throughout retinal neurogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / genetics*
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics*
  • Cell Lineage / genetics
  • Eye Proteins
  • Helix-Loop-Helix Motifs / physiology
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • PAX6 Transcription Factor
  • Paired Box Transcription Factors
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / embryology*
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*


  • Eye Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • PAX6 Transcription Factor
  • PAX6 protein, human
  • Paired Box Transcription Factors
  • Repressor Proteins