Biasing amacrine subtypes in the Atoh7 lineage through expression of barhl2

Patricia R Jusuf, Shahad Albadri, Alessio Paolini, Peter D Currie, Francesco Argenton, Shin-ichi Higashijima, William A Harris, Lucia Poggi

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19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Within the developing vertebrate retina, particular subtypes of amacrine cells (ACs) tend to arise from progenitors expressing the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor, Atoh7, which is necessary for the early generation of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). All ACs require the postmitotic expression of the bHLH pancreas transcription factor Ptf1a; however, Ptf1a alone is not sufficient to give subtype identities. Here we use functional and in vivo time-lapse studies in the zebrafish retina to investigate on the developmental programs leading to ACs specification within the subsequent divisions of Atoh7-positive progenitors. We find evidences that the homeobox transcription factor Barhl2 is an AC subtype identity-biasing factor that turns on within Atoh7-positive descendants. In vivo lineage tracing reveals that particular modes of cell division tend to generate Barhl2-positive precursors from sisters of RGCs. Additionally, Atoh7 indirectly impacts these division modes to regulate the right number of barhl2-expressing cells. We finally find that Atoh7 itself influences the subtypes of Barhl2-dependent ACs. Together, the results from our study uncover lineage-related and molecular logic of subtype specification in the vertebrate retina, by showing that specific AC subtypes arise via a particular mode of cell division and a transcriptional network cascade involving the sequential expression of first atoh7 followed by ptf1a and then barhl2.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13929 - 13944
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume32
Issue number40
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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