The Notch signaling pathway is important at several stages of retinal development including the differentiation of retinal ganglion cells and Müller glia. The downstream effectors of Notch signaling, Hes1 and Hes5, have been shown to be critical in the retina as well. While Notch activity directly regulates Hes1 and Hes5 elsewhere in the nervous system, it has been unclear whether Hes1 and/or Hes5 are directly regulated by Notch activity in the developing retina. Here, we report that both Hes1 and Hes5 are directly regulated by Notch activity during retinal development. Using fluorescence-based Hes1 and Hes5 reporter constructs, we can monitor Notch activity in progenitor cells in the intact retina, and we find that Notch activity is downregulated just prior to retinal ganglion cell differentiation.
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