Terminal Selectors of Neuronal Identity

Curr Top Dev Biol. 2016;116:455-75. doi: 10.1016/bs.ctdb.2015.12.007. Epub 2016 Jan 14.


The analysis of the developmental programs that define many different neuron types in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has revealed common themes in how distinct terminal differentiation programs are controlled. Rather than being controlled in a piece-meal manner, terminal identity features of a mature neuron are often coregulated by so-called terminal selector transcription factors. Here, I summarize the terminal selector concept and emphasize core features of this concept in the C. elegans system such as coregulation of terminal effector batteries, combinatorial control mechanisms, and the coupling of initiation and maintenance of neuronal identity.

Keywords: Neuronal differentiation; Neuronal identity; Transcriptional regulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / growth & development*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / metabolism


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins