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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Apr 30;93(9):3920-5.

POU domain factor Brn-3b is required for the development of a large set of retinal ganglion cells.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030, USA.


The three members of the Brn-3 family of POU domain transcription factors are found in highly restricted sets of central nervous system neurons. Within the retina, these factors are present only within subsets of ganglion cells. We show here that in the developing mouse retina, Brn-3b protein is first observed in presumptive ganglion cell precursors as they begin to migrate from the zone of dividing neuroblasts to the future ganglion cell layer, and that targeted disruption of the Brn-3b gene leads in the homozygous state to a selective loss of 70% of retinal ganglion cells. In Brn-3b (-/-) mice other neurons within the retina and brain are minimally or not at all affected. These experiments indicate that Brn-3b plays an essential role in the development of specific ganglion cell types.

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