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Dev Biol. 2005 Aug 15;284(2):464-78.

Multiple requirements for Hes 1 during early eye formation.

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Department of Pediatrics, Northwestern University Medical School at Children's Memorial Institute for Education and Research, Chicago, IL 60614, USA.


During embryogenesis, multiple developmental processes are integrated through their precise temporal regulation. Hes1 is a transcriptional repressor that regulates the timing of mammalian retinal neurogenesis. However, roles for Hes1 in early eye development have not been well defined. Here, we show that Hes1 is expressed in the forming lens, optic vesicle, cup, and pigmented epithelium and is necessary for proper growth, morphogenesis, and differentiation of these tissues. Because Hes1 is required throughout the eye, we investigated its interaction with Pax6. Hes1-Pax6 double mutant embryos are eyeless suggesting these genes are coordinately required for initial morphogenesis and outgrowth of the optic vesicle. In Hes1 mutants, Math5 expression is precocious along with retinal ganglion cell, amacrine, and horizontal neuron formation. In contrast to apparent cooperativity between Pax6 and Hes1 during morphogenesis, each gene regulates Math5 and RGC genesis independently. Together, these studies demonstrate that Hes1, like Pax6, simultaneously regulates multiple developmental processes during optic development.

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