The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 53: 69 - 79 (2009)

Vol 53, Issue 1

Transcriptional regulation by Pax3 and TGFbeta2 signaling: a potential gene regulatory network in neural crest development

Original Article | Published: 1 December 2008

Hiromichi Nakazaki1, Yueh-Wei Shen1, Beth Yun1, Anvesh Reddy1,Varun Khanna1, Barbara Mania-Farnell2, Shunsuke Ichi1, David G. Mclone1, Tadanori Tomita1 and C. Shekhar K. Mayanil*,1

1Laboratory of Neural Tube Research, Department of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Children’s Memorial Research Center and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL and 2Department of Biology, Purdue University at Calumet, Hammond, IN, USA


Pax3 regulates neural crest cell migration and is critical during neural crest development. TGFbs modify neural crest cell migration and differentiation. TGFbeta2 nullizygous embryos (TGFbeta2-/-Pax3+/+) display open neural tube and bifid spine, whereas in wild type embryos, the neural tube is closed. In previous work, we have demonstrated that Pax3 regulates TGFbeta2 by directly binding to cis-regulatory elements on its promoter. In this study, we found that the TGFbeta2 nullizygous phenotype can be reversed to the wild type phenotype by down-regulating one allele of Pax3, as in TGFbeta2-/-Pax3+/- embryos obtained through breeding TGFb2+/-Pax3+/- mice. The data in this paper suggest that Pax3 and TGFbeta2 interact in a coordinated gene regulatory network, linked by common downstream effector genes, to bring about this phenotypic reversal. Downstream effectors may include Hes1, Ngn2 and Sox9, as well as other genes involved in neuronal differentiation.


Hes1, Ngn2, Sox9, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transformation

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