Six3 and Six6 Are Jointly Required for the Maintenance of Multipotent Retinal Progenitors through Both Positive and Negative Regulation

Raven Diacou, Yilin Zhao, Deyou Zheng, Ales Cvekl, Wei Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Gene regulation of multipotent neuroretinal progenitors is partially understood. Through characterizing Six3 and Six6 double knockout retinas (DKOs), we demonstrate Six3 and Six6 are jointly required for the maintenance of multipotent neuroretinal progenitors. Phenotypes in DKOs were not found in either Six3 nulls or Six6 nulls. At the far periphery, ciliary margin (CM) markers Otx1 and Cdon together with Wnt3a and Fzd1 were ectopically upregulated, whereas neuroretinal progenitor markers Sox2, Notch1, and Otx2 were absent or reduced. At the mid periphery, multi-lineage differentiation was defective. The gene set jointly regulated by Six3 and Six6 significantly overlapped with the gene networks regulated by WNT3A, CTNNB1, POU4F2, or SOX2. Stimulation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling by either Wnt-3a or a GS3Kβ inhibitor promoted CM progenitors at the cost of neuroretinal identity at the periphery of eyecups. Therefore, Six3 and Six6 together directly or indirectly suppress Wnt/β-catenin signaling but promote retinogenic factors for the maintenance of multipotent neuroretinal progenitors. Gene regulation of multipotent retinal progenitor cells is partially understood. Through genetic, molecular, and transcriptomic characterization of Six3 and Six6 compound null retinas in mice, Diacou et al. demonstrate that Six3 and Six6 jointly suppress Wnt/β-catenin signaling but promote the expression of retinogenic factors to maintain multipotent retinal progenitor cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2510-2523.e4
JournalCell Reports
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 27 2018



  • Six3
  • Six6
  • Wnt/β-catenin signaling
  • cell differentiation
  • cell fate specification
  • ciliary margin progenitor
  • multipotent neuroretinal progenitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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