Douglas B. Gould1, Richard S. Smith1,2 and Simon W.M. John*,1,2,3
1The Jackson Laboratory, 2The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Bar Harbor, Maine and 3Department of Ophthalmology, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Development of the ocular anterior segment involves a series of inductive interactions between neural ectoderm, surface ectoderm and periocular mesenchyme. The timing of these events is well established but less is known about the molecular mechanisms involved. Various genes that participate in these processes have been identified. As the roles of more genes are determined, developmental pathways and networks will emerge. Here, we focus on recent advances made using mouse models. We summarize key morphological events in formation of anterior chamber structures, including the aqueous humor drainage structures that are involved in intraocular pressure (IOP) regulation and glaucoma. We discuss the developmental roles of genes that associate with abnormal anterior segment development and elevated IOP or glaucoma (including Bmp4, Cyp1b1, Foxc1, Foxc2, Pitx2, Lmx1b and Tyr ) and how some of these genes may fit into developmental networks.