Dynamic expression of the Onecut transcription factors HNF-6, OC-2 and OC-3 during spinal motor neuron development

Neuroscience. 2010 Jan 13;165(1):116-29. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.09.076. Epub 2009 Oct 2.


The Onecut (OC) transcription factors, namely Hepatocyte nuclear factor 6 (HNF-6), OC-2 and OC-3, are transcriptional activators expressed in liver, pancreas and nervous system during development. Although their expression and roles in endoderm-derived tissues and in the trigeminal ganglia have been investigated, their expression in the CNS has not been described yet. In this study, we report a qualitative and quantitative expression profile of the OC factors in the developing spinal motor neurons (MN). We provide evidence that OC expression is initiated in newly-born MN. At later stages, they are differentially and dynamically expressed in subsets of differentiating motor neuron within the four motor columns. We also show that the expression profile of HNF-6 in spinal MN is conserved in chick embryos. Together, our data unveil a complex and dynamic expression profile of the OC proteins in spinal MN, which suggests that these factors may participate in regulatory networks that control different steps of motor neuron development.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Chick Embryo
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 6 / biosynthesis*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Mice
  • Motor Neurons / metabolism*
  • Spinal Cord / cytology*
  • Spinal Cord / embryology
  • Transcription Factors / biosynthesis*


  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 6
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • ONECUT2 protein, mouse
  • Onecut1 protein, mouse
  • Onecut3 protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factors