[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most neurons in vertebrates make a developmental choice between two principal neurotransmitter phenotypes (glutamatergic versus GABAergic). Here we show that the homeobox gene Lbx1 determines a GABAergic cell fate in the dorsal spinal cord at early embryonic stages. In Lbx1-/- mice, the presumptive GABAergic neurons are transformed into glutamatergic cells. Furthermore, overexpression of Lbx1 in the chick spinal cord is sufficient to induce GABAergic differentiation. Paradoxically, Lbx1 is also expressed in glutamatergic neurons. We previously reported that the homeobox genes Tlx1 and Tlx3 determine glutamatergic cell fate. Here we show that impaired glutamatergic differentiation, observed in Tlx3-/- mice, is restored in Tlx3-/-Lbx1-/- mice. These genetic studies suggest that Lbx1 expression defines a basal GABAergic differentiation state, and Tlx3 acts to antagonize Lbx1 to promote glutamatergic differentiation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the developing brain, transcription factors (TFs) direct the formation of a diverse array of neurons and glia. We identifed 1445 putative TFs in the mouse genome. We used in situ hybridization to map the expression of over 1000 of these TFs and TF-coregulator genes in the brains of developing mice. We found that 349 of these genes showed restricted expression patterns that were adequate to describe the anatomical organization of the brain. We provide a comprehensive inventory of murine TFs and their expression patterns in a searchable brain atlas database.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons mediate much of the excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission, respectively, in the vertebrate nervous system. The process by which developing neurons select between these two cell fates is poorly understood. Here we show that the homeobox genes Tlx3 and Tlx1 determine excitatory over inhibitory cell fates in the mouse dorsal spinal cord. First, we found that Tlx3 was required for specification of, and expressed in, glutamatergic neurons. Both generic and region-specific glutamatergic markers, including VGLUT2 and the AMPA receptor Gria2, were absent in Tlx mutant dorsal horn. Second, spinal GABAergic markers were derepressed in Tlx mutants, including Pax2 that is necessary for GABAergic differentiation, Gad1/2 and Viaat that regulate GABA synthesis and transport, and the kainate receptors Grik2/3. Third, ectopic expression of Tlx3 was sufficient to suppress GABAergic differentiation and induce formation of glutamatergic neurons. Finally, excess GABA-mediated inhibition caused dysfunction of central respiratory circuits in Tlx3 mutant mice.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Serotonergic (5-HT) neurons in the brainstem modulate a wide range of physiological processes and behaviors. Two transcription factor genes, Pet-1 and Nkx2.2, are necessary but not sufficient to specify the 5-HT transmitter phenotype. Here we show that the Lim class homeobox gene Lmx1b is required for proper formation of the entire 5-HT system in the hindbrain, as indicated by the loss of expression of genes necessary for serotonin synthesis and transport in Lmx1b null mice. Lmx1b and Pet1 act downstream of Nkx2.2, and their expression is independently regulated at the time when 5-HT transmitter phenotype is specified. Ectopic expression of Lmx1b plus Pet-1 is able to induce formation of 5-HT cells in the most ventral spinal cord, where Nkx2.2 is normally expressed. Combined expression of all three genes, Lmx1b, Pet-1, and Nkx2.2, drives 5-HT differentiation in the dorsal spinal cord. Our studies therefore define a molecular pathway necessary and sufficient to specify the serotonergic neurotransmitter phenotype.
Journal of Neuroscience 12/2003; 23(31):9961-7. · 6.91 Impact Factor