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Title: Msx function in the developing vertebrate retina
Author: Holme, Ralph Henry
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1998
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Members of the vertebrate Msx gene family encode homeodomain-containing transcription factors that are expressed in a variety of tissues during mouse development, including the eye. Msx 1 and Msx 2 are reported to be essential for eye development, but their precise function during the formation of this organ is not clear. Msx function in the eye was investigated by performing a detailed analysis of Msx 1 and Msx 2 expression in E9.5-E13.5 mouse embryos. The optic vesicle gives rise to the pigmented retina epithelium (PRE) and neural retina. In situ hybridisation showed that Msx 2 was expressed in cells of the optic vesicle that are presumed to give rise to the neural retina. Expression was not detected in the PRE. These observations suggest that Msx 2 may play a role in specifying neural retina cell fate or in suppressing PRE fate. This function was investigated by ectopically expressing mouse Msx 2 in primary cultures of dissociated 5 to 9 day-old chick PRE cells. This resulted in a small proportion of expressing cells acquiring a neural phenotype, but had no effect on non-expressing neighbouring cells. Dedifferentiated PRE, cultured for up to 14 days, remained responsive to Msx 2. The results presented in this thesis suggest that mouse Msx 2 may function in chick PRE cells in one of two ways; either to generate multipotent neural retina precursors or to directly drive the differentiation of individual PRE cells into different neural cell types. Msx 2 expression in retinal progenitors of the optic vesicle, but not progenitors within the differentiating neural retina is consistent with Msx 2 functioning in the optic vesicle to recruit neural retina precursors rather than to drive their final differentiation. The Msx genes may play a similar role at other sites of expression.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available