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Neural stem cell transcriptional networks highlight genes essential for nervous system development

Authors
Journal
The EMBO Journal
0261-4189
Publisher
EMBO
Publication Date
Volume
28
Issue
24
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1038/emboj.2009.309
Keywords
  • Article
Disciplines
  • Biology

Abstract

Neural stem cells must strike a balance between self-renewal and multipotency, and differentiation. Identification of the transcriptional networks regulating stem cell division is an essential step in understanding how this balance is achieved. We have shown that the homeodomain transcription factor, Prospero, acts to repress self-renewal and promote differentiation. Among its targets are three neural stem cell transcription factors, Asense, Deadpan and Snail, of which Asense and Deadpan are repressed by Prospero. Here, we identify the targets of these three factors throughout the genome. We find a large overlap in their target genes, and indeed with the targets of Prospero, with 245 genomic loci bound by all factors. Many of the genes have been implicated in vertebrate stem cell self-renewal, suggesting that this core set of genes is crucial in the switch between self-renewal and differentiation. We also show that multiply bound loci are enriched for genes previously linked to nervous system phenotypes, thereby providing a shortcut to identifying genes important for nervous system development.

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