A3: Transcriptional control of stemness in the ciliary marginal zone of the vertebrate retina
In vertebrates neural stem cells represent undifferentiated precursors that retain the life-long potential to differentiate into all cell types of the CNS. Anamniotes (fish and amphibia) in addition show continuous, life-long neural growth of the central nervous system. To achieve this, the fish retina contains a stem cell niche, the ciliary marginal zone (CMZ) suggested to give rise to all cell types in the growing and potentially also regenerating retina. We plan to decipher the molecular network that governs the establishment and maintenance of the CMZ by undertaking a Systems Biology approach composed of bioinformatics, high-throughput experimental methods and systematic experimental validations.