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Mech Dev. 1998 Dec;79(1-2):131-5.

Mab21, the mouse homolog of a C. elegans cell-fate specification gene, participates in cerebellar, midbrain and eye development.

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Department of Neuroscience, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy.


A multitude of regulatory genes are involved in phylogenetically conserved developmental cascades required for the patterning, cell-type specification, and differentiation of specific central nervous system (CNS) structures. Here, we describe the distribution of a mouse transcript encoding a homolog of the C. elegans mab-21 gene. In the nematode tail, mab-21 is required for the short-range patterning and cell-fate determination events mediated by egl-5 and mab-18, two homeobox genes homologous to Abd-B and Pax6, respectively. In mouse midgestation embryogenesis, Mab21 is expressed at its highest levels in the rhombencephalon, cerebellum, midbrain, and prospective neural retina. Our data and the genetic interactions previously documented in the nematode suggest that Mab21 may represent a novel, important regulator of mammalian cerebellum and eye development.

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