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Dev Biol. 2007 Mar 15;303(2):784-99. Epub 2006 Nov 6.

Sox2 and Pou2f1 interact to control lens and olfactory placode development.

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Division of Genetics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Sox2, which encodes an SRY-like HMG box transcription factor, is critical for vertebrate development. Sox2 mediates its transcriptional effects through the formation of complexes with specific co-factors, many of which are unknown. In this report, we identify Oct-1, encoded by the Pou2f1 gene, as a co-factor for Sox2 in the context of mouse lens and nasal placode induction. Oct-1, Sox2, and Pax6 are co-expressed during lens and nasal placode induction and during subsequent developmental stages. Genetic combination of Sox2 and Pou2f1 mutant alleles results in impaired induction of the lens placode, an ocular phenotype that includes anophthalmia, and a complete failure of nasal placode induction. These ocular and nasal phenotypes closely resemble those observed in Pax6 null embryos. Moreover, we identify DNA-binding sites that support the cooperative formation of a complex between Sox2 and Oct-1 and mediate Sox2/Oct-1-dependent transactivation of the Pax6 lens ectoderm enhancer in vitro. We demonstrate that the same Sox- and Octamer-binding sites are essential for Pax6 enhancer activity in the lens placode and its derivatives in transgenic mouse embryos. Collectively, these results indicate that Pou2f1, Sox2 and Pax6 are interdependent components of a molecular pathway utilized in both lens and nasal placode induction.

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