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Mech Dev. 2000 Mar 1;91(1-2):43-52.

Interaction between Otx2 and Gbx2 defines the organizing center for the optic tectum.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Neurobiology, Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University, Seiryo-machi 4-1, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Japan.


Otx2 is expressed in the mesencephalon and prosencephalon, and Gbx2 is expressed in the rhombencephalon around stage 10. Loss-of-function studies of these genes in mice have revealed that Otx2 is indispensable for the development of the anterior brain segment, and that Gbx2 is required for the development of the isthmus. We carried out gain-of-function experiments of these genes in chick embryos with a newly developed gene transfer system, in ovo electroporation. When Otx2 was ectopically expressed caudally beyond the midbrain-hindbrain boundary (MHB), the alar plate of the metencephalon differentiated into the optic tectum instead of differentiating into the cerebellum. On the other hand, when Gbx2 was ectopically expressed at the mesencephalon, the caudal limit of the tectum shifted rostrally. We looked at the effects of misexpression on the isthmus- and tectum-related molecules. Otx2 and Gbx2 interacted to repress each other's expression. Ectopic Otx2 and Gbx2 repressed endogenous expression of Fgf8 in the isthmus, but induced Fgf8 expression at the interface between Otx2 and Gbx2 expression. Thus, it is suggested that interaction between Otx2 and Gbx2 determines the site of Fgf8 expression and the posterior limit of the tectum.

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