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Mol Cell Neurosci. 2006 Mar;31(3):463-9. Epub 2005 Dec 20.

The final fates of neurogenin2-expressing cells include all major neuron types in the mouse retina.

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Department of Ophthalmology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 700 South 18th Street, Birmingham, AL 35294-0009, USA.


The molecular mechanism underlying vertebrate retinal development is not well understood. To examine whether neurogenin2 (ngn2) expression determines cell fate in the retina, we mapped the final fates of cells that once expressed ngn2, using the conditional, binary CreER -LacZ system. We found LacZ+ cells in all 3 nuclear layers of the mouse retina and including all major types of neurons: photoreceptors, horizontal, bipolar, amacrine, and ganglion cells. The distribution of LacZ+ cells among the 3 nuclear layers closely resembled a theoretical distribution of total retinal cells. The temporal window in which each cell type was marked appeared nonrandom, and was similar to its birthdate and birth sequence. These data indicate that cells expressing ngn2 at some point in their life histories may later differentiate into a variety of cell types.

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