Formation of the lens during embryonic development depends on tissue interactions as shown clearly both from teratological data and from extensive experimental analysis. Recent work has, however, altered our view of the importance of particular tissue interactions for lens formation. While earlier work emphasises the role of the optic vesicle in lens induction, more recent studies argue that lens-inducing signals important for determination act before optic vesicle formation. Evidence is given for a four stage model in which ectoderm first becomes competent to respond to lens inducers. It then receives inductive signals, at least in part emanating from the anterior neural plate, so that it gains a lens-forming bias and subsequently becomes specified for lens formation. Complete lens differentiation does require signals from the optic vesicle, and in addition an inhibitory signal from head neural crest may suppress any residual lens-forming bias in head ectoderm adjacent to the lens.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems