The Otx2 homeodomain transcription factor is essential for gastrulation and early neural development. We generated Otx2 conditional knockout (cKO) mice to investigate its roles in telencephalon development after neurulation (approximately embryonic day 9.0). We conducted transcriptional profiling and in situ hybridization to identify genes de-regulated in Otx2 cKO ventral forebrain. In parallel, we used chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing to identify enhancer elements, the OTX2 binding motif, and de-regulated genes that are likely direct targets of OTX2 transcriptional regulation. We found that Otx2 was essential in septum specification, regulation of Fgf signaling in the rostral telencephalon, and medial ganglionic eminence (MGE) patterning, neurogenesis, and oligodendrogenesis. Within the MGE, Otx2 was required for ventral, but not dorsal, identity, thus controlling the production of specific MGE derivatives.
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