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Dev Biol. 2003 Jan 1;253(1):150-62.

Novel activities of Mafb underlie its dual role in hindbrain segmentation and regional specification.

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Unité 368 de l'Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Ecole Normale Supérieure, 46 rue d'Ulm, 75230, Paris Cedex 05, France.


The bZip transcription factor Mafb is expressed in two segments of the developing vertebrate hindbrain: the rhombomeres 5 and 6. Loss of Mafb expression in the mouse mutant kreisler leads to elimination of r5 and to alterations of r6 regional identity. Here, we further investigated the role of Mafb in hindbrain patterning using gain-of-function experiments in the chick embryo. Our work has revealed novel functions for Mafb, including a positive autoregulatory activity, the capacity to repress Hoxb1 expression, and the capacity to synergise with or antagonise Krox20 activity. These different activities appear to be spatially restricted in the hindbrain, presumably due to interactions with other factors. Reinvestigation of the kreisler mutation indicated that it also results in an ectopic activation of Mafb in rhombomere 3, accounting for the previously described molecular alterations of this rhombomere in the mutant. Together, these data allow us to refine our view of the dual function of Mafb in both segmentation and specification of anteroposterior identity in the hindbrain.

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