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Mech Dev. 1998 Dec;79(1-2):57-72.

Distinct but overlapping expression patterns of two vertebrate slit homologs implies functional roles in CNS development and organogenesis.

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Centre for Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Brisbane, Australia.


The Drosophila slit gene (sli) encodes a secreted leucine-rich repeat-containing protein (slit) expressed by the midline glial cells and required for normal neural development. A putative human sli homolog, SLIT1, has previously been identified by EST database scanning. We have isolated a second human sli homolog, SLIT2, and its murine homolog Slit2. Both SLIT1 and SLIT2 proteins show approximately 40% amino acid identity to slit and 60% identity to each other. In mice, both genes are expressed during CNS development in the floor plate, roof plate and developing motor neurons. As floor plate represents the vertebrate equivalent to the midline glial cells, we predict a conservation of function for these vertebrate homologs. Each gene shows additional but distinct sites of expression outside the CNS suggesting a variety of functions for these proteins.

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