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Gene Review

Isl2  -  insulin related protein 2 (islet 2)

Mus musculus

Synonyms: 3110001N10Rik, Insulin gene enhancer protein ISL-2, Islet-2, islet 2, islet-2
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High impact information on Isl2

  • We conclude that Isl2 specifies RGC laterality by repressing an ipsilateral pathfinding program unique to VTC RGCs and involving Zic2 and EphB1 [1].
  • Magnitude of binocular vision controlled by islet-2 repression of a genetic program that specifies laterality of retinal axon pathfinding [1].
  • All spinal motor neuron subtypes initially express both Isl1 and Isl2, but Isl2 is rapidly downregulated by visceral motor neurons [2].
  • Mouse embryos lacking Isl2 function exhibit defects in the migration and axonal projections of thoracic level motor neurons that appear to reflect a cell-autonomous switch from visceral to somatic motor neuron character [2].
  • Finally, an intermediate knockdown revealed a role for Tbx20 in motoneuron development, specifically in the regulation of the transcription factors Isl2 and Hb9, which are important for terminal differentiation of motoneurons [3].

Anatomical context of Isl2

  • In homozygous Isl2/EphA3 knock-in mice the map is double-valued, which means that each point on retina maps to two termination zones in superior colliculus [4].

Other interactions of Isl2

  • In Small eye (Pax6-deficient) mice, the origin of OLPs is shifted dorsally and both OLPs and Isl2/Lim3 MNs are delayed [5].
  • Additional genetic mutations that reduce or eliminate both Isl1 and Isl2 activity result in more pronounced defects in visceral motor neuron generation and erode somatic motor neuron character [2].
  • The transcription factor Zic2 and guidance receptor EphB1, required by RGCs to project ipsilaterally, colocalize in RGCs distinct from Isl2 RGCs in the ventral-temporal crescent (VTC), the source of ipsilateral projections [1].
  • CONCLUSIONS: We present a theoretical model for retinocollicular map development, which can account for intriguing behaviors observed in gain-of-function experiments by Brown et al., including bifurcation in heterozygous Isl2/EphA3 knock-ins [4].


  1. Magnitude of binocular vision controlled by islet-2 repression of a genetic program that specifies laterality of retinal axon pathfinding. Pak, W., Hindges, R., Lim, Y.S., Pfaff, S.L., O'Leary, D.D. Cell (2004) [Pubmed]
  2. A postmitotic role for Isl-class LIM homeodomain proteins in the assignment of visceral spinal motor neuron identity. Thaler, J.P., Koo, S.J., Kania, A., Lettieri, K., Andrews, S., Cox, C., Jessell, T.M., Pfaff, S.L. Neuron (2004) [Pubmed]
  3. Tbx20 dose-dependently regulates transcription factor networks required for mouse heart and motoneuron development. Takeuchi, J.K., Mileikovskaia, M., Koshiba-Takeuchi, K., Heidt, A.B., Mori, A.D., Arruda, E.P., Gertsenstein, M., Georges, R., Davidson, L., Mo, R., Hui, C.C., Henkelman, R.M., Nemer, M., Black, B.L., Nagy, A., Bruneau, B.G. Development (2005) [Pubmed]
  4. A stochastic model for retinocollicular map development. Koulakov, A.A., Tsigankov, D.N. BMC neuroscience [electronic resource]. (2004) [Pubmed]
  5. Pax6 influences the time and site of origin of glial precursors in the ventral neural tube. Sun, T., Pringle, N.P., Hardy, A.P., Richardson, W.D., Smith, H.K. Mol. Cell. Neurosci. (1998) [Pubmed]
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