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Mech Dev. 2000 Apr;92(2):169-77.

The expression of dopamine beta-hydroxylase, tyrosine hydroxylase, and Phox2 transcription factors in sympathetic neurons: evidence for common regulation during noradrenergic induction and diverging regulation later in development.

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Max-Planck-Institut für Hirnforschung, Deutschordenstrasse 46, D-60528, Frankfurt, Germany.


During differentiation of sympathetic neurons in chick embryos, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and dopamine beta-hydroxylase (DBH) mRNAs become detectable during the same developmental period and are both induced by BMP 4. Later during sympathetic ganglion development, DBH is detectable in TH-positive and -negative cells. Moreover, BMPs reduce DBH mRNA in cultures of sympathetic neurons while leaving TH unaffected. The data provide evidence for a common regulation of TH and DBH early during sympathetic neuron differentiation and indicate that BMPs promote their initial expression but not the maintenance during later development. The time course of Phox2a and 2b expression suggests an evolutionary conserved role in noradrenergic induction. In addition, Phox2a, Phox2b, and c-ret may be involved in the differentiation of cholinergic sympathetic neurons.

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