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Neurobiol Dis. 2003 Dec;14(3):349-56.

Overexpression of the chromosome 21 transcription factor Ets2 induces neuronal apoptosis.

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Monash Institute of Reproduction and Development, Monash University, Monash Medical Center, 246 Clayton Road, 3168 Clayton, Australia.


Down syndrome (trisomy 21) neurons display an increased rate of apoptosis in vitro. The genes on chromosome 21 that mediate this increased cell death remain to be elucidated. Here we show that the chromosome 21 transcription factor Ets2, a gene that is overexpressed in Down syndrome, is expressed in neurons, and that moderate overexpression of Ets2 leads to increased apoptosis of primary neuronal cultures from Ets2 tg mice that involves activation of caspase-3. Our data therefore suggest that overexpression of ETS2 may contribute to the increased rate of apoptosis of neurons in Down syndrome.

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