Neuronal transcriptional repressor REST suppresses an Atoh7-independent program for initiating retinal ganglion cell development

Chai An Mao, Wen Wei Tsai, Jang Hyeon Cho, Ping Pan, Michelle Craig Barton, William H. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

As neuronal progenitors differentiate into neurons, they acquire a unique set of transcription factors. The transcriptional repressor REST prevents progenitors from undergoing differentiation. Notably, REST binding sites are often associated with retinal ganglion cell (RGC) genes whose expression in the retina is positively controlled by Atoh7, a factor essential for RGC formation. The key regulators that enable a retinal progenitor cell (RPC) to commit to an RGC fate have not been identified. We show here that REST suppresses RGC gene expression in RPCs. REST inactivation causes aberrant expression of RGC transcription factors in proliferating RPCs, independent of Atoh7, resulting in increased RGC formation. Strikingly, inactivating REST in Atoh7-null retinas restores transcription factor expression, which partially activates downstream RGC genes but is insufficient to prevent RGC loss. Our results demonstrate an Atoh7-independent program for initial activation of RGC genes and suggest a novel role for REST in preventing premature expression in RPCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-99
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Volume349
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Atoh7 (Math5)
  • Neurod1
  • REST (NRSF)
  • Retinal ganglion cells
  • Retinal progenitor cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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