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J Mol Neurosci. 2008 May;35(1):3-12. doi: 10.1007/s12031-007-9008-8. Epub 2007 Sep 18.

A matter of identity: transcriptional control in oligodendrocytes.

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Institut für Biochemie, Emil-Fischer-Zentrum, Universität Erlangen, Fahrstrasse 17, 91054 Erlangen, Germany.


Oligodendrocyte development progresses from specification to terminal differentiation through several phases. By now, a number of transcription factors have been identified that are essential for one or more of these phases. They stem from transcription factor families with known roles in many developmental processes. Basic helix-loop-helix, homeodomain, and high-mobility-group containing transcription factors such as the Olig, Nkx, and Sox proteins have been particularly well studied. A complex picture has emerged in which these transcription factors interact in transcriptional networks and thereby combine and influence their respective activities as repressors or activators in such a way that stage- and cell-type specific gene expression is achieved during oligodendrocyte development.

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