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Dev Cell. 2006 Dec;11(6):831-44.

Proneural bHLH and Brn proteins coregulate a neurogenic program through cooperative binding to a conserved DNA motif.

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Division of Molecular Neurobiology, National Institute for Medical Research, The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, London NW7 1AA, UK.


Proneural proteins play a central role in vertebrate neurogenesis, but little is known of the genes that they regulate and of the factors that interact with proneural proteins to activate a neurogenic program. Here, we demonstrate that the proneural protein Mash1 and the POU proteins Brn1 and Brn2 interact on the promoter of the Notch ligand Delta1 and synergistically activate Delta1 transcription, a key step in neurogenesis. Overexpression experiments in vivo indicate that Brn2, like Mash1, regulates additional aspects of neurogenesis, including the division of progenitors and the differentiation and migration of neurons. We identify by in silico screening a number of additional candidate target genes, which are recognized by Mash1 and Brn proteins through a DNA-binding motif similar to that found in the Delta1 gene and present a broad range of activities. We thus propose that Mash1 synergizes with Brn factors to regulate multiple steps of neurogenesis.

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