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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2004 Dec;45(12):4570-5.

Otx2 homeobox gene induces photoreceptor-specific phenotypes in cells derived from adult iris and ciliary tissue.

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Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.



It remains unclear which gene induction effectively generates photoreceptor-specific phenotypes from nonretinal tissues. The purpose of this study was to determine whether Crx and Otx2--homeobox genes related to photoreceptor development--can induce the generation of these phenotypes in cells derived from adult ciliary and iris tissue and in mesencephalon-derived neural stem cells.


Crx and Otx2 were transferred into adult rat ciliary- and embryonic mesencephalon-derived neurospheres and adult rat iris-derived cells with the aid of a recombinant retrovirus. The presence of photoreceptor-specific phenotypes was confirmed by immunocytochemistry and Western blot analysis.


More than 90% of the Crx- and Otx2-transfected ciliary- and iris-derived cells exhibited rod opsin immunoreactivity, whereas few of the similarly transfected mesencephalon-derived neural stem cells expressed rod opsin. At least two additional key components of the phototransduction cascade, recoverin and Gdeltat1, were expressed by Crx- and Otx2-transfected iris-derived cells.


Crx and Otx2 effectively induced the generation of photoreceptor-specific phenotypes from ciliary- and iris-derived cells. That both Crx and Otx2 induced phenotype generation in cells derived from iris or ciliary tissue may suggest an approach to photoreceptor cell preparation for retinal transplantation.

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