Developmental dynamics : an official publication of the American Association of Anatomists

Isolation of a novel cDNA enriched in the undifferentiated chick retina and lens.

PMID 12815627


By using a differential screening strategy, we have identified a previously uncharacterised gene that is preferentially expressed in chick retinal precursor cells as well as in the anterior epithelial cells of the lens at early stages of development. The EURL transcript has an open reading frame of 293 amino acids and a 3' untranslated region of >850 nucleotides. The only recognizable feature in the EURL (early undifferentiated retina and lens) amino acid sequence is a putative coiled-coil domain located at the C-terminus of the protein. The human EURL orthologue maps to chromosome 21q21. Northern blot analysis, in situ hybridization of tissue sections, and whole-mount hybridization indicate elevated levels of EURL mRNA in the embryonic dorsal retina from stage 14 (day 2) to stage 18 (day 3). At day 3.5, when >90% of the retinal cells are in the proliferative stage, EURL transcripts are found primarily in the peripheral dorsal retina, i.e., the most undifferentiated part of the dorsal retina. EURL transcripts are also detected in the lens at stage 18 and remain abundant in the proliferating epithelial cells of the lens until at least day 11. The distribution pattern of EURL in the developing retina and lens suggest a role before the events leading to cell determination and differentiation.