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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2010 Aug;20(4):391-9. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2010.04.008. Epub 2010 May 11.

Sonic hedgehog functions through dynamic changes in temporal competence in the developing forebrain.

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Smilow Neuroscience Program, Department of Cell Biology, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, NY 10016, USA.


Morphogens act during development to provide graded spatial information that controls patterning and cell lineage specification in the nervous system. The role of morphogen signaling in instructing the expression of downstream effector transcription factors has been well established. However, a key requirement for morphogen signaling is the existence of functional intracellular machinery able to mediate the appropriate response in target cells. Here we suggest that dynamic changes in the temporal responses to Shh in the developing ventral telencephalon occur through alterations in progenitor competence. We suggest these developmental changes in competence are mediated by a transcriptional mechanism that intrinsically integrates information from the distinct signaling pathways that act to pattern the telencephalic neuroepithelium.

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