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Cell October 2, 1998; 95 (1): 67-80.

Specification of motor neuron identity by the MNR2 homeodomain protein.

Tanabe Y , William C , Jessell TM .

Sonic hedgehog signaling controls the differentiation of motor neurons in the ventral neural tube, but the intervening steps are poorly understood. A differential screen of a cDNA library derived from a single Shh-induced motor neuron has identified a novel homeobox gene, MNR2, expressed by motor neuron progenitors and transiently by postmitotic motor neurons. The ectopic expression of MNR2 in neural cells initiates a program of somatic motor neuron differentiation characterized by the expression of homeodomain proteins, by neurotransmitter phenotype, and by axonal trajectory. Our results suggest that the Shh-mediated induction of a single transcription factor, MNR2, is sufficient to direct somatic motor neuron differentiation.

PubMed ID: 9778248
Article link: Cell
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: mnx1 shh
Antibodies: Mnx1 Ab1