Eye field specification in Xenopus laevis

Curr Top Dev Biol. 2010;93:29-60. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-385044-7.00002-3.


Vertebrate eyes begin as a small patch of cells at the most anterior end of the early brain called the eye field. If these cells are removed from an amphibian embryo, the eyes do not form. If the eye field is transplanted to another location on the embryo or cultured in a dish, it forms eyes. These simple cut and paste experiments were performed at the beginning of the last century and helped to define the embryonic origin of the vertebrate eye. The genes necessary for eye field specification and eventual eye formation, by contrast, have only recently been identified. These genes and the molecular mechanisms regulating the initial formation of the Xenopus laevis eye field are the subjects of this review.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement
  • Eye / embryology*
  • Eye Proteins / genetics
  • Eye Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Morphogenesis / physiology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Xenopus Proteins / genetics
  • Xenopus Proteins / metabolism
  • Xenopus laevis* / anatomy & histology
  • Xenopus laevis* / embryology


  • Eye Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Xenopus Proteins