XATH-1, a Vertebrate Homolog of Drosophila Atonal, Induces a Neuronal Differentiation Within Ectodermal Progenitors

Dev Biol. 1997 Jul 1;187(1):1-12. doi: 10.1006/dbio.1997.8572.

Abstract

XATH-1, a basic/helix-loop-helix transcription factor and a homolog of Drosophila atonal and mammalian MATH-1, is expressed specifically in the dorsal hindbrain during Xenopus neural development. In order to investigate the role of XATH-1 in the neuronal differentiation process, we have examined the effects of XATH-1 overexpression during Xenopus development. XATH-1 induces the expression of neuronal differentiation markers, such as N-tubulin, within the neural plate as well as within nonneural ectodermal progenitor populations, resulting in the appearance of process-bearing neurons within the epidermis. The related basic/helix-loop-helix genes neurogenin-related-1 and neuroD are not induced in response to XATH-1 overexpression within the embryo, suggesting that XATH-1 may activate an alternate pathway of neuronal differentiation. In further contrast to neurogenin-related-1 and neuroD, high-level expression of general neural markers expressed earlier in development, such as N-CAM, is not induced by XATH-1 overexpression. Competent ectodermal progenitors therefore respond to ectopic XATH-1 expression by initiating a distinct program of neuronal differentiation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry*
  • Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Ectoderm / cytology
  • Ectoderm / physiology*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / cytology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Helix-Loop-Helix Motifs
  • Mammals
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / chemistry
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Rhombencephalon / embryology
  • Rhombencephalon / physiology
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / biosynthesis*
  • Transcription Factors / chemistry*
  • Xenopus
  • Xenopus Proteins*

Substances

  • ATOH1 protein, Xenopus
  • Atoh1 protein, mouse
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • NEUROD4 protein, Xenopus
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • ato protein, Drosophila