We examined the role of retinoid-related orphan receptor (ROR)beta, a member of the nuclear receptor family of transcription factors, in retinal neurogenesis. In situ hybridization studies showed that RORbeta is expressed in retinal progenitor cells in the embryonic rat retina. Further studies demonstrated that RORbeta colocalizes with Chx10, a transcription factor thought to influence retinal progenitor proliferation (Burmeister, M., Novak, J., Liang, M-Y., Basu, S., Ploder, L., Hawes, N.L. Vidgen, D., Hoover, F., Goldman, D. , Kalnins, V.I., Roderick, T.H., Taylor, B.A., Hankin, M.H. and McInnes, R.R., 1996. Ocular retardation mouse caused by Chx10 homeobox null allele: impaired retinal progenitor proliferation and bipolar cell differentiation. Nature Genetics 12, 376-383). Northern analysis reveals that RORbeta expression is dramatically decreased in the ocular retardationJ mutant, which possesses a defect in the Chx10 gene. Overexpression of RORbeta in retinal progenitors by biolistic transfection results in an increase in the number of large cell clones. These data support a role for RORbeta in regulating retinal progenitor proliferation, possibly via the Chx10 gene.
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