Transcriptional regulation of photoreceptor development and homeostasis in the mammalian retina

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2010 Aug;11(8):563-76. doi: 10.1038/nrn2880.


In the developing vertebrate retina, diverse neuronal subtypes originate from multipotent progenitors in a conserved order and are integrated into an intricate laminated architecture. Recent progress in mammalian photoreceptor development has identified a complex relationship between six key transcription-regulatory factors (RORbeta, OTX2, NRL, CRX, NR2E3 and TRbeta2) that determine rod versus M cone or S cone cell fate. We propose a step-wise 'transcriptional dominance' model of photoreceptor cell fate determination, with the S cone representing the default state of a generic photoreceptor precursor. Elucidation of gene-regulatory networks that dictate photoreceptor genesis and homeostasis will have wider implications for understanding the development of nervous system function and for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Homeostasis / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Neurogenesis / genetics*
  • Photoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Retina / growth & development*
  • Retina / physiology
  • Retinal Diseases / genetics
  • Retinal Diseases / pathology
  • Retinal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Transcription, Genetic*