In vitro generation of early-born neurons from late retinal progenitors

J Neurosci. 2003 Sep 10;23(23):8193-203. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.23-23-08193.2003.


Evidence suggests that, as development ensues, the competence of neural progenitors is progressively altered, such that they become fated to give rise to neurons of a particular stage. Here, we demonstrate that late retinal progenitors can give rise to retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), an example of an early-born cell type in the retina. A subset of late retinal progenitors in vitro responds to cues that favor RGC differentiation by displaying markers characteristic of RGCs. In addition, mechanisms used during normal RGC differentiation are recruited by these cells toward their differentiation along RGC lineage. Our observations suggest that late neural progenitors may not be irreversibly fated but may appear as such under the constraints dictated by epigenetic cues.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Differentiation / biosynthesis
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chick Embryo
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Growth Substances / metabolism
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Retina / embryology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / cytology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / metabolism
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / cytology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • Growth Substances
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Transcription Factors
  • delta protein