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Mech Dev. 2000 Dec;99(1-2):143-8.

Dynamic expression of basic helix-loop-helix Olig family members: implication of Olig2 in neuron and oligodendrocyte differentiation and identification of a new member, Olig3.

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Department of Pathology and Tumor Biology, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Yoshida, Konoe-cho, Sakyo-ku, 606-8501, Kyoto, Japan.


Basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors have been shown to be essential for specification of various cell types. Here, we describe a novel bHLH family consisting of three members, two of which (Olig1, Olig2) are expressed in a nervous tissue-specific manner, whereas the third, Olig3 is found mainly in non-neural tissues. Olig1 and Olig2, which recently have been implicated in oligodendrogenesis, are expressed in the region of the ventral ventricular zone of late embryonic spinal cord where oligodendrocyte progenitors appear. In the embryonic brain, the Olig2 expression domain is broader than that of Olig1 and does not overlap with an oligodendrocyte progenitor marker, CNP. Furthermore, Olig2 is expressed in most cells in the ventral half of the early embryonic spinal cord, which do not yet express an early neuronal marker TuJ1. These results indicate that Olig2 expression is not limited to the oligodendrocyte lineage but includes immature neuronal progenitors and multipotential neuron/glia progenitors as well as embryonic olfactory neurons.

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