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Neuron. 1991 Jun;6(6):971-81.

Induction of a mesencephalic phenotype in the 2-day-old chick prosencephalon is preceded by the early expression of the homeobox gene en.

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INSERM U-106, Hôpital de la Salpêtrière, Paris, France.


The homeobox gene en, homologous to the gene en-grailed of Drosophila, is expressed in the metencephalic-mesencephalic segment of the vertebrate neural tube. Using quail-chick chimeras, an antibody against en proteins, and cytoarchitectonic techniques, we demonstrate that metencephalon transplanted to prosencephalon, at E2, maintains a high level of en proteins and its presumptive cerebellar fate. The ectopic metencephalon induces in the contiguous host prosencephalon the expression of en and, subsequently, a mesencephalic phenotype. These related genetic and phenotypic expressions indicate that the transcriptional regulatory en gene is involved in cerebellar and mesencephalic cyto-differentiation. The expression of en can also be induced in chick prosencephalon by a mammalian metencephalic graft, indicating that the factors regulating the transcription of en are phylogenetically well conserved.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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