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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Vax2 inactivation in mouse determines alteration of the eye dorsal-ventral axis, misrouting of the optic fibres and eye coloboma.

Vax2 is a homeobox gene whose expression is confined to the ventral region of the prospective neural retina. Overexpression of this gene at early stages of development in Xenopus and in chicken embryos determines a ventralisation of the retina, thus suggesting its role in the molecular pathway that underlies eye development. We describe the generation and characterisation of a mouse with a targeted null mutation of the Vax2 gene. Vax2 homozygous mutant mice display incomplete closure of the optic fissure that leads to eye coloboma. This phenotype is not fully penetrant, suggesting that additional factors contribute to its generation. Vax2 inactivation determines dorsalisation of the expression of mid-late (Ephb2 and Efnb2) but not early (Pax2 and Tbx5) markers of dorsal-ventral polarity in the developing retina. Finally, Vax2 mutant mice exhibit abnormal projections of ventral retinal ganglion cells. In particular, we observed the almost complete absence of ipsilaterally projecting retinal ganglion cells axons in the optic chiasm and alteration of the retinocollicular projections. All these findings indicate that Vax2 is required for the proper closure of the optic fissure, for the establishment of a physiological asymmetry on the dorsal-ventral axis of the eye and for the formation of appropriate retinocollicular connections.[1]


  1. Vax2 inactivation in mouse determines alteration of the eye dorsal-ventral axis, misrouting of the optic fibres and eye coloboma. Barbieri, A.M., Broccoli, V., Bovolenta, P., Alfano, G., Marchitiello, A., Mocchetti, C., Crippa, L., Bulfone, A., Marigo, V., Ballabio, A., Banfi, S. Development (2002) [Pubmed]
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