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Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2011;27:681-96. doi: 10.1146/annurev-cellbio-092910-154226.

Regulation of terminal differentiation programs in the nervous system.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New York, NY 10032, USA.


The generation of individual neuron types in the nervous system is a multistep process whose endpoint is the expression of neuron type-specific batteries of terminal differentiation genes that determine the functional properties of a neuron. This review focuses on the regulatory mechanisms that are involved in controlling the terminally differentiated state of a neuron. I review several case studies from invertebrate and vertebrate nervous systems that reveal that many terminal differentiation features of a neuron are coregulated via terminal selector transcription factors that initiate and maintain terminal differentiation programs.

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