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Published July 1, 1999 | Published
Journal Article Open

NEUROGENIN1 and NEUROGENIN2 control two distinct waves of neurogenesis in developing dorsal root ganglia


Different classes of sensory neurons in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) are generated in two waves: large-diameter trkC+ and trkB+neurons are born first, followed by small-diameter trkA+ neurons. All such neurons require either neurogenin (ngn)1 or 2, two neuronal determination genes encoding basic helix–loop–helix (bHLH) transcription factors. ngn2 is required primarily if not exclusively for the generation of trkC+and trkB+ neurons, whereas the generation of most or all trkA+neurons requires ngn1. Comparison with previous lineage tracing data in the chick suggests that this dichotomy reflects a requirement for the two ngns in distinct sensory precursor populations. The neurogenesis defect in ngn2 −/−embryos is transient and later compensated by ngn1-dependent precursors, suggesting that feedback or competitive interactions between these precursors may control the proportion of different neuronal subtypes they normally produce. These data reveal remarkable parallels in the roles of bHLH factors during neurogenesis in the DRG, and myogenesis in the neighboring myotome.

Additional Information

© 1999 by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. The Authors acknowledge that six months after the full-issue publication date, the Article will be distributed under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC License (Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) Received March 3, 1999; revised version accepted May 17, 1999. We thank Shirley Pease and the staff of the Transgenic Animal Facility at Caltech for assistance with mouse breeding and care, Lan Dinh for genotyping, Gaby Mosconi for lab management, P. Labosky for the gift of the Hfh2 probe, Sandra Rebelo for advice on DiI labeling, and Eric Frank and Josh Sanes for sharing unpublished data. We also thank S. Perez, S. Gerety, A. Greenwood, B. Wold, E. Frank, and J. Sanes for their helpful comments on the manuscript. Q.M. is an Associate and D.J.A. an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. This work was supported in part by a grant from the National Institutes of Health to the Silvio Conte Center for Neuroscience Research (H. Lester, P.I.). The publication costs of this article were defrayed in part by payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked 'advertisement' in accordance with 18 USC section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

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