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Mech Dev. 1995 May;51(1):99-114.

Expression of the novel murine homeobox gene Sax-1 in the developing nervous system.

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Abteilung für Molekulare Zellbiologie, Max-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie, Göttingen, Germany.


We have isolated the novel murine Sax-1 gene, a member of the NK-1 class of homeobox genes, and report its expression pattern in the developing central nervous system (CNS) in comparison to two other homeobox genes, Evx-1 and Pax-6. Sax-1 was found to be transiently expressed in the developing posterior CNS. First seen in the ectoderm lateral to the primitive streak, the signal later encompassed the neural plate. Posteriorly, the expression domain overlapped with the Evx-1 expression in the streak, while anteriorly it was delimited by the Pax-6 signal in the neural tube. This early phase starting at day 9.5 pc, Sax-1 was expressed in distinct areas of spinal cord, hindbrain and forebrain. Particularly strong signals were detected in rhombomere 1 and in the pretectum. In these areas, subsets of neurons may be marked and specified. In addition to the normal pattern of Sax-1 during development, the expression in different mouse mutants was analysed. In Brachyury curtailed homozygotes, the expression of Sax-1 was found to be reduced during neurulation and even lost at day 9.0 pc. Ventral shift and finally loss of the signal in the ventral spinal cord was observed in Danforth's short tail homozygotes.

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