The following is the summary of “Cell fate decisions, transcription factors and signaling during early retinal development” published in November 2022 issue of Retinal and eye research by Diacou, et al.

Vertebrate eye development is a multistep process that begins with anterior-posterior and dorso-ventral patterning of the anterior neural tube and ends with establishing the eye field. The eyes develop from a pair of optic vesicles, each resulting from a symmetrical process that begins with the separation of the eye field at the anterior neural plate. Optic vesicles then form double-layered optic cups by invaginating into lens placodes generated from the surface ectoderm. 

The inner layer of the optic cup becomes the neural retina, whereas the outer layer becomes the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Retinal organoids, retinal tissues grown in culture that mirror major phases of retinal development in vivo, are derived from human pluripotent stem cells. New insights into the development of the eye field, optic vesicles, and early optic cups are discussed in this review paper. Various cellular pathways governing early eye development are revealed when modern single-cell transcriptome research is combined with traditional in vivo genetic and functional studies. Mechanisms of cell-specific regulation behind cell fate determination in the developing eye are explored, including the roles of signal transduction pathways and lineage-specific DNA-binding transcription factors. 

Early eye development depends on several homeodomain (HD) transcription factors, including Otx2, Pax6, Lhx2, Six3, and Six6. For example, developmental ocular anomalies like optic cup coloboma can be better understood at the molecular and cellular levels if the principles of early eye development have been fully elucidated. Finally, employing stem cell-derived retinal organoids to model human development and hereditary retinal illnesses creates chances to uncover innovative therapeutics for retinal diseases.