Early stages of motor neuron differentiation revealed by expression of homeobox gene Islet-1

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Science  12 Jun 1992:
Vol. 256, Issue 5063, pp. 1555-1560
DOI: 10.1126/science.1350865


Motor neurons in the embryonic chick spinal cord express a homeobox gene, Islet-1, soon after their final mitotic division and before the appearance of other differentiated motor neuron properties. The expression of Islet-1 by neural cells is regulated by inductive signals from the floor plate and notochord. These results establish Islet-1 as the earliest marker of developing motor neurons. The molecular nature of the Islet-1 protein suggests that it may be involved in the establishment of motor neuron fate.

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