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J Neurobiol. 1998 Feb 5;34(2):126-34.

Requirement of the MASH-1 transcription factor for neuroendocrine differentiation of thyroid C cells.

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Molecular Biology Program, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242, USA.


Thyroid C cells are neural crest-derived neuroendocrine cells that can acquire features similar to serotonergic neurons. Based on developmental and phenotypic markers, we have previously proposed that C cells and serotonergic enteric neurons arise from a common sympathoadrenal progenitor. In this report, we genetically examined this relationship using mice lacking the mammalian achaete-scute homologue 1 (MASH-1) transcription factor, since MASH-1 has recently been shown to be required for differentiation of serotonergic enteric neurons. We found that MASH-1 knockout mice have a greatly reduced number of C cells based on the lack of calcitonin and serotonin immunoreactivity. In contrast, calcitonin and serotonin were still expressed in cultured mature C cells that no longer express MASH-1, demonstrating that MASH-1 is not directly required for the expression of these two markers. Hence, MASH-1 is required to establish the C-cell phenotype and supports the model that C cells lie in the neuronal differentiation pathway of the sympathoadrenal neural crest.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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