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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Apr 6;107(14):6510-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0912315107. Epub 2010 Mar 22.

Zbtb20 is essential for the specification of CA1 field identity in the developing hippocampus.

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  • 1Department of Pathophysiology, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai 200433, China.


The development of hippocampal circuitry depends on the proper assembly of correctly specified and fully differentiated hippocampal neurons. Little is known about factors that control the hippocampal specification. Here, we show that zinc finger protein Zbtb20 is essential for the specification of hippocampal CA1 field identity. We found that Zbtb20 expression was initially activated in the hippocampal anlage at the onset of corticogenesis, and persisted in immature hippocampal neurons. Targeted deletion of Zbtb20 in mice did not compromise the progenitor proliferation in the hippocampal and adjacent transitional ventricular zone, but led to the transformation of the hippocampal CA1 field into a transitional neocortex-like structure, as evidenced by cytoarchitectural, neuronal migration, and gene expression phenotypes. Correspondingly, the subiculum was ectopically located adjacent to the CA3 in mutant. Although the field identities of the mutant CA3 and dentate gyrus (DG) were largely maintained, their projections were severely impaired. The hippocampus of Zbtb20 null mice was reduced in size, and exhibited increased apoptotic cell death during postnatal development. Our data establish an essential role of Zbtb20 in the specification of CA1 field identity by repressing adjacent transitional neocortex-specific fate determination.

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