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Notch signaling is required to repress the formation of vertebrate cone photoreceptors and to maintain the proliferative potential of multipotent retinal progenitor cells. However, the mechanism by which Notch signaling controls these processes is unknown. Recently, restricted retinal progenitor cells with limited proliferation capacity and that preferentially generate cone photoreceptors have been identified. Thus, there are several potential steps during cone genesis that Notch signaling could act. Here we use cell type specific cis-regulatory elements to localize the primary role of Notch signaling in cone genesis to the formation of restricted retinal progenitor cells from multipotent retinal progenitor cells. Localized inhibition of Notch signaling in restricted progenitor cells does not alter the number of cones derived from these cells. Cell cycle promotion is not a primary effect of Notch signaling but an indirect effect on progenitor cell state transitions that leads to depletion of the multipotent progenitor cell population. Taken together, this suggests that the role of Notch signaling in cone photoreceptor formation and proliferation are both mediated by a localized function of Notch in multipotent retinal progenitor cells to repress the formation of restricted progenitor cells.


This article was originally published in Scientific Reports, available at

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