Axial level-specific regulation of neuronal development: lessons from PITX2

J Neurosci Res. 2015 Feb;93(2):195-8. doi: 10.1002/jnr.23471. Epub 2014 Aug 14.


Transcriptional regulation of gene expression is vital for proper control of proliferation, migration, differentiation, and survival of developing neurons. Pitx2 encodes a homeodomain transcription factor that is highly expressed in the developing and adult mammalian brain. In humans, mutations in PITX2 result in Rieger syndrome, characterized by defects in the development of the eyes, umbilicus, and teeth and variable abnormalities in the brain, including hydrocephalus and cerebellar hypoplasia. Alternative splicing of Pitx2 in the mouse results in three isoforms, Pitx2a, Pitx2b, and Pitx2c, each of which is expressed symmetrically along the left-right axis of the brain throughout development. Here, we review recent evidence for axial and brain region-specific requirements for Pitx2 during neuronal migration and differentiation, highlighting known isoform contributions.

Keywords: brain; differentiation; migration; spinal cord.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology*
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Cell Proliferation / physiology
  • Homeodomain Proteins / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • homeobox protein PITX2