Helix-loop-helix factors in growth and differentiation of the vertebrate nervous system

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 1997 Oct;7(5):659-65. doi: 10.1016/s0959-437x(97)80014-7.


Neural development involves the initial growth phase of dividing precursor cells and the subsequent differentiation phase of postmitotic cells. Recent studies indicate that the transition from the former phase to the latter is controlled antagonistically by multiple helix-loop-helix (HLH) genes. Cascades of neuronal HLH genes promote differentiation whereas anti-neuronal HLH genes repress them under the control of Notch and keep cells at the precursor stage. This antagonistic regulation may be essential for generation of the proper number of neurons and for morphogenesis of the nervous system.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Drosophila / embryology
  • Embryonic Induction
  • Helix-Loop-Helix Motifs* / genetics
  • Models, Neurological
  • Morphogenesis
  • Nervous System / cytology
  • Nervous System / embryology*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / physiology
  • Vertebrates / embryology*