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Published March 1998 | public
Journal Article

neurogenin1 Is Essential for the Determination of Neuronal Precursors for Proximal Cranial Sensory Ganglia


The NEUROGENINS (NGNs) are neural-specific basic helix–loop–helix (bHLH) transcription factors. Mouse embryos lacking ngn1 fail to generate the proximal subset of cranial sensory neurons. ngn1 is required for the activation of a cascade of downstream bHLH factors, including NeuroD, MATH3, and NSCL1. ngn1 is expressed by placodal ectodermal cells and acts prior to neuroblast delamination. Moreover, NGN1 positively regulates the Delta homolog DLL1 and can be negatively regulated by Notch signaling. Thus, ngn1 functions similarly to the proneural genes in Drosophila. However, the initial pattern of ngn1 expression appears to be Notch independent. Taken together with the fact that ectopic ngn1 expression can convert ectodermal cells to neurons in Xenopus ( Ma et al. 1996), these data and those of Fode et al. 1998) identify ngns as vertebrate neuronal determination genes, analogous to myoD and myf5 in myogenesis.

Additional Information

© 1998 Cell Press. Under an Elsevier user license. Received 8 December 1997, Revised 20 January 1998. We wish to acknowledge Carol Fode and François Guillemot for sharing unpublished data. We thank R. Behringer and A. Bradley for AB-1 ES cells and SNL 76/7STO cells, G. Friedrich for a 129/SvEv mouse genomic library, and Y. Mishina for the PGKneoxho vector. We are grateful to S. Pease and the staff of the Caltech transgenic facility for their assistance throughout this project. We thank the following people for providing probes and antibodies: A. Frankfurter, R. Kageyama, J. Lee, D. Henrique, R. Baer, and H. U. Wang. We thank B. Wold, K. Zinn, C. Fode, and F. Guillemot for their constructive comments on the manuscript and L. Wang and S. Padilla for their excellent technical assistance. D. J. A. is an Investigator and Q. F. M. and Z. F. C are Associates of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. This paper is dedicated to the memory of the late Harold Weintraub.

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