Roles of Sox4 in central nervous system development

Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 2000 Jun 23;79(1-2):180-91. doi: 10.1016/s0169-328x(00)00109-1.


The transcription factor-encoding gene, Sox4, is expressed in a wide range of tissues and has been shown to be functionally involved in heart, B-cell and reproductive system development. Sox4 shows a high degree of sequence homology with another group C Sox gene, Sox11, which is predominantly expressed in the CNS. Since the expression of Sox4 in the CNS has not been described we have carried out such a study. Sox4 and Sox11 expression increased simultaneously in the same early differentiating cells of the developing CNS except in the external granule layer of the cerebellum where Sox11 expression preceded that of Sox4. As development proceeded, their expression always appeared to relate to the maturational stage of the cell population, with Sox11 expression more transient than Sox4, except in the spinal cord where the reverse was true. Sox4 knock-out mice have been shown to die of a heart defect half way through gestation with no observable CNS phenotype. Our more detailed analysis showed no abnormality in the spatial restriction of expression of Sox2, Sox11, Mash1, neurogenin1 or neurogenin2, although the level of expression of Sox11 and Mash1 appeared a little different from the wild-type, implying that Sox4 might indeed have a functional role in CNS development. However, since Sox4 and Sox11 expression is so similar, we propose that Sox11 might compensate for the loss of Sox4 function in the CNS such that the phenotype is extremely mild in the Sox4 null mutant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Brain / embryology
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • High Mobility Group Proteins / deficiency
  • High Mobility Group Proteins / genetics*
  • High Mobility Group Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Organ Specificity
  • SOXC Transcription Factors
  • Trans-Activators / deficiency
  • Trans-Activators / genetics*
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism*


  • High Mobility Group Proteins
  • SOXC Transcription Factors
  • Sox11 protein, mouse
  • Sox4 protein, mouse
  • Trans-Activators