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Mol Neurobiol. 1987 Spring-Summer;1(1-2):9-46.

A molecular view of vertebrate retinal development.

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  • 1Laboratory of Neurobiology Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021.


Immunological probes have begun to identify molecules that delineate cell layers and cell types during the formation of the retina and other parts of the optic cup. Within the developing retina, cell-type-specific monoclonal antibodies have been used to show that differentiation occurs before cells reach their final laminar position. Cell surface molecules have been found expressed in position-dependent gradients across the retina. These molecules may convey positional information to the retinal cells and their topographic connections. One such molecule is a modified carbohydrate group on a ganglioside, suggesting that such groups may play a role in neural development. A variety of molecules that are expressed by rod photoreceptors at defined stages of their differentiation have been characterized. These molecules have been used to show the development of subcellular compartments within rods. In vitro studies have suggested that photoreceptor molecules expressed at different times are under different forms of regulation. Some of these cell-specific molecules have been shown to be under transcriptional control and thus defined cell interactions seem to be linked to changes in gene expression during retinal development.

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