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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 May 16;103(20):7871-6. Epub 2006 May 9.

Sox10 regulates ciliary neurotrophic factor gene expression in Schwann cells.

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Institute for Clinical Neurobiology, University of Wuerzburg, D-97080 Wuerzburg, Germany.


Ciliary neurotrophic factor (Cntf) plays an essential role in postnatal maintenance of spinal motoneurons. Whereas the expression of this neurotrophic factor is low during embryonic development, it is highly up-regulated after birth in myelinating Schwann cells of rodents. To characterize the underlying transcriptional mechanisms, we have analyzed and compared the effects of various glial transcription factors. In contrast to Pit-1, Oct-1, Unc-86 homology region (POU) domain class 3, transcription factor 1 (Oct6/SCIP/Tst-1) and paired box gene 3 (Pax3), SRY-box-containing gene 10 (Sox10) induces Cntf expression in Schwann cells. Subsequent promoter analysis using luciferase reporter gene and EMSA identified the corresponding response elements within the Cntf promoter. Overexpression of Sox10 in primary sciatic nerve Schwann cells leads to a >100-fold up-regulation of Cntf protein, and suppression of Sox10 by RNA interference in the spontaneously immortalized Schwann cell line 32 reduces Cntf expression by >80%. Mice with heterozygous inactivation of the Sox10 gene show significantly reduced Cntf protein levels in sciatic nerves, indicating that Sox10 is necessary and sufficient for regulating Cntf expression in the peripheral nervous system.

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