Notch signaling differentially regulates Atoh7 and Neurog2 in the distal mouse retina

Kate A. Maurer, Amy N. Riesenberg, Nadean L Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Notch signaling regulates basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) factors as an evolutionarily conserved module, but the tissue-specific mechanisms are incompletely elucidated. In the mouse retina, bHLH genes Atoh7 and Neurog2 have distinct functions, with Atoh7 regulating retinal competence and Neurog2 required for progression of neurogenesis. These transcription factors are extensively co-expressed, suggesting similar regulation. We directly compared Atoh7 and Neurog2 regulation at the earliest stages of retinal neurogenesis in a broad spectrum of Notch pathway mutants. Notch1 and Rbpj normally block Atoh7 and Neurog2 expression. However, the combined activities of Notch1, Notch3 and Rbpj regulate Neurog2 patterning in the distal retina. Downstream of the Notch complex, we found the Hes1 repressor mediates Atoh7 suppression, but Hes1, Hes3 and Hes5 do not regulate Neurog2 expression. We also tested Notch-mediated regulation of Jag1 and Pax6 in the distal retina, to establish the appropriate context for Neurog2 patterning. We found that Notch1;Notch3 and Rbpj block co-expression of Jag1 and Neurog2, while specifically stimulating Pax6 within an adjacent domain. Our data suggest that Notch signaling controls the overall tempo of retinogenesis, by integrating cell fate specification, the wave of neurogenesis and the developmental status of cells ahead of this wave.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3243-3254
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number16
StatePublished - 2014


  • Atoh7
  • Jagged1
  • Mouse
  • Neurog2
  • Notch signaling
  • Retinal neurogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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