Mammalian Genome

, Volume 8, Issue 7, pp 479–485

Eyes absent: A gene family found in several metazoan phyla

  • Melinda K. Duncan
  • Lidia Kos
  • Nancy A. Jenkins
  • Debra J. Gilbert
  • Neal G. Copeland
  • Stanislav I. Tomarev
Original Contribution

DOI: 10.1007/s003359900480

Cite this article as:
Duncan, M.K., Kos, L., Jenkins, N.A. et al. Mammalian Genome (1997) 8: 479. doi:10.1007/s003359900480

Abstract

Genes related to the Drosophila eyes absent gene were identified in vertebrates (mouse and human), mollusks (squid), and nematodes (C. elegans). Proteins encoded by these genes consist of conserved C-terminal and variable N-terminal domains. In the conserved 271-amino acid C-terminal region, Drosophila and vertebrate proteins are 65-67% identical. A vertebrate homolog of eyes absent, designated Eya2, was mapped to Chromosome (Chr) 2 in the mouse and to Chr 20q13.1 in human. Eya2 shows a dynamic pattern of expression during development. In the mouse, expression of Eya2 was first detected in 8.5-day embryos in the region of head ectoderm fated to become the forebrain. At later stages of development, Eya2 is expressed in the olfactory placode and in a variety of neural crest derivatives. In the eye, expression of Eya2 was first detected after formation of the lens vesicle. At day 17.5, the highest level of Eya2 mRNA was observed in primary lens fibers. Low levels of Eya2 expression was detected in retina, sciera, and cornea. By postnatal day 10, Eya2 was expressed in secondary lens fibers, cornea, and retina. Although Eya2 is expressed relatively late in eye development, it belongs to the growing list of factors that may be essential for eye development across metazoan phyla. Like members of the Pax-6 gene family, eyes absent gene family members were probably first involved in functions not related to vision, with recruitment for visual system formation and function occurring later.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melinda K. Duncan
    • 1
  • Lidia Kos
    • 2
  • Nancy A. Jenkins
    • 3
  • Debra J. Gilbert
    • 3
  • Neal G. Copeland
    • 3
  • Stanislav I. Tomarev
    • 1
  1. 1.National Eye Institute, Laboratory of Molecular and Developmental BiologyBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Laboratory of Genetic Disease Research, National Center for Human Genome ResearchBethesdaUSA
  3. 3.Mammalian Genetics LaboratoryABL Basic Research Program NCI/FCRDCFrederickUSA

Personalised recommendations