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Published October 1996 | metadata_only
Journal Article

neurogenins, a novel family of atonal-related bHLH transcription factors, are putative mammalian neuronal determination genes that reveal progenitor cell heterogeneity in the developing CNS and PNS


We recently identified neurogenin (ngn), a neuroD-related bHLH gene, whose Xenopus homolog functions as a neuronal determination factor and upstream activator of XneuroD (Maet al. Cell 87:43–52, 1996). Here we identify two additional ngn's, ngn2 and ngn3, which together define a novel subfamily of atonal-related mouse genes. Comparative analysis of ngn expression indicates that these three genes define distinct progenitor populations in the developing CNS and PNS, exhibiting nonoverlapping expression in some areas and partial overlap in others. The expression of thengn's spatially overlaps and often temporally precedes that of neuroD, suggesting that (as in Xenopus) the ngn's and neuroD function in a cascade. Thus, as in myogenesis, different bHLH determination factors may activate a common bHLH differentiation factor in different sublineages. The ngn's therefore represent both a family of putative mammalian neuronal determination genes and useful markers of the origins of neuronal diversity.

Additional Information

© 1996 by Academic Press. Received October 4, 1996; Revised October 24, 1996; Accepted October 24, 1996. The authors are grateful to Christiane Zock for establishing the RT-PCR conditions used in this study to amplify genes encoding bHLH transcription factors. We thank Hai Wang for generously providing the erbB3 riboprobe and for help with the whole mount in situ hybridization experiments, and Z. Chen for providing the mouse genomic library. We acknowledge Jacqueline Lee for providing the neuroD riboprobe, and Steve Padilla for technical assistance. Furthermore, we thank Helena Edlund for help with the characterization of ngn3 genomic clones. L.S. and Q.M. are Associates of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute; D.J.A. is an Associate Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

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August 19, 2023
August 19, 2023