Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Guiding Sight

Eye-specific mutation allows the role of a vision-vital gene to be confirmed

03 April 2020

Guiding Sight

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.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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