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Published February 2000 | public
Journal Article

Identification of a Novel Family of Oligodendrocyte Lineage-Specific Basic Helix–Loop–Helix Transcription Factors


Basic helix–loop–helix (bHLH) transcription factors have been identified for neurons and their precursors but not for glial cells. We have identified two bHLH factors, Oligo1 and Oligo2, that are specifically expressed in zones of neuroepithelium from which oligodendrocyte precursors emerge, as well as in the precursors themselves. Expression of Oligo2 in the spinal cord precedes that of platelet-derived growth factor receptor α (PDGFRα), the earliest known marker of oligodendrocyte precursors, by several days. Ectopic expression of Oligo2 in vivo causes ectopic expression of Sox10, an HMG-box transcription factor expressed in oligodendrocyte and other glial precursors. These data identify Oligo genes as the earliest known markers of oligodendrocyte lineage determination and suggest they play a causal role in this process.

Additional Information

© 2000 Cell Press. Under an Elsevier user license. Received January 18, 2000; revised January 27, 2000. We thank B. Barres for helpful discussions, Charles Stiles for sharing unpublished results, Jeong Yoon for suggesting the use of Pax7 as a myoblast nuclear marker, Kirsten Kuhlbrodt and Michael Wegner for the Sox10 probe, Sherry Perez for help with chick retroviral infections, Jae Kim for helpful comments on the manuscript, Joana Yamada for technical assistance, and Gaby Mosconi for laboratory management. D. J. A. is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grant R01 NS23476.

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