Eye-specific mutation allows the role of a vision-vital gene to be confirmed
Your eyes look at the world but it's your brain that sees it. This is thanks to your optic nerve, which connects to nerve cells in the backs of your eyes (retina) to deliver their messages to your brain for interpretation. Development of the optic nerve involves the gene Dcc. Researchers now probe what Dcc is doing here using confocal microscopy (pictured) to image nerve cells in the eyes. In mutant mice lacking Dcc in their eyes, projections from nerve cells within the retina failed to connect up to the optic nerve (bottom) as occurs in normal mouse eyes (top, left). Instead, projections stalled or went in the opposite direction, similar to mutant mice lacking the protein, netrin, which is known to guide nerve cells (top, right). Dcc is therefore vital in properly wiring up the eyes to the brain.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.