PURPOSE. This study was undertaken to determine whether exogenous expression of the transcription factor Crx can promote the differentiation of mouse retinal stem cells (RSCs) into cells with a functional photoreceptor phenotype exhibiting light-sensitive properties. METHODS. RSCs isolated from mouse ciliary epithelium and maintained in serum-free culture were genetically modified by electroporation to express exogenous epitope-tagged murine Crx. Changes in the expression of stem cell markers (homeodomain transcription factor Pax6; POU transcription factor Oct3/4; proliferating cell nuclear antigen [PCNA]); of neuronal markers (nestin, neuron-specific class III �-tubulin [ � III Tub] and neurofilament [NF 200]); and of photoreceptor-specific markers (rhodopsin [Rho], cyclic nucleotide-gated cation channel-3 [CNG3], blue-cone opsin, and cGMP phosphodiesteras
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