The light-sensitive neural retina (NR) and the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) develop from a common primordium, the optic vesicle, raising the question of how they acquire and maintain distinct identities. Here, we demonstrate that sustained misexpression of the Chx10 homeobox gene in the presumptive RPE in chick suppresses accumulation of melanin pigments and promotes ectopic NR-like neural differentiation. This phenotypic change involved ectopic expression of NR transcription factor genes, Sox2, Six3, Rx1 and Optx2, which, when misexpressed, counteracted RPE development without upregulating Chx10. These results suggest that Chx10 can function as a cell autonomous regulator of the regional identity in the primordial retina, presumably through a downstream transcriptional cascade.
Keywords: Chick; Electroporation; Eye; Neural retina; Retinal pigmented epithelium.
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