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Keywords:

  • retina;
  • dou yan;
  • retinal lamination;
  • cell death;
  • small eye

Abstract

The size of an organ is largely determined by the number of cells it contains, which in turn is regulated by two opposing processes, cell proliferation and cell death, however, it is generally not clear how cell proliferation and cell death are coordinated during development. Here, we characterize the zebrafish dou yanmi234 mutation that results in a dramatic reduction of retinal size and a disruption of retinal differentiation and lamination. The retinal size reduction is caused by increased retinal cell death in a non–cell-autonomous manner during early development. The phenotypic defect in dou yanmi234 arises coincident with the onset of retinal neurogenesis and differentiation. Interestingly, unlike many other small eye mutations, the mutation does not increase the level of cell death in the brain, suggesting that the brain and retina use different mechanisms to maintain cell survival. Identification and further study of the dou yan gene will enhance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating retinal cellular homeostasis, i.e., the balance between cell proliferation and cell death. Developmental Dynamics 236:1295–1306, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.