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Published October 13, 1998 | Published
Journal Article Open

Isolation and characterization of mammalian homologs of the Drosophila gene glial cells missing


The glial cells missing (gcm) gene in Drosophila encodes a transcription factor that determines the choice between glial and neuronal fates. We report here the isolation of two mammalian gcm homologs, Gcm1 and Gcm2, and the characterization of their expression patterns during embryonic development. Although Gcm2 is expressed in neural tissues at a low level, the major sites of expression for both of the mammalian genes are nonneural, suggesting that the functions of the mammalian homologs have diverged and diversified. However, when expressed ectopically, Gcm1 can substitute functionally for Drosophila gcm by transforming presumptive neurons into glia. Thus, certain biochemical properties, although not the specificity of the tissue in which the gene is expressed, have been conserved through the evolution of the Gcm gene family.

Additional Information

© 1998 by the National Academy of Sciences. Contributed by Corey S. Goodman, August 14, 1998. We thank Beate Lanske for the PTH probe, Craig Montell for the repo cDNA (pcrepo-2.6), Christian Klambt for sca-Gal4 line, Sherry Perez and Joel Pomerantz for their comments on the manuscript, and Janet Rossant and Jay Cross for helpful discussions. This work was supported by fellowships from the National Institutes of Health (to J.K.), from the American Cancer Society (to B.W.J.), from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (to B.W.J. and Z.C.), and from the Human Frontiers Science Program (to C.Z.). D.J.A. and C.S.G. are Investigators of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The publication costs of this article were defrayed in part by page charge payment. This article must therefore be hereby marked "advertisement" in accordance with 18 U.S.C. §1734 solely to indicate this fact.

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