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Gene Review

Foxn4  -  forkhead box N4

Mus musculus

Synonyms: Forkhead box protein N4
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High impact information on Foxn4

  • These results indicate that Foxn4 is both necessary and sufficient for commitment to the amacrine cell fate and is nonredundantly required for the genesis of horizontal cells [1].
  • Two reports in this issue of Neuron reveal two transcription factors (Foxn4 and Bhlhb4) that contribute to the development of this remarkable cellular diversity [2].
  • Loss of Foxn4 function eliminates Mash1 expression and V2b neurons and causes a fate-switch to V2a neurons, whereas the absence of Mash1 displays a similar but less severe phenotype [3].
  • Foxn4 acts synergistically with Mash1 to specify subtype identity of V2 interneurons in the spinal cord [3].
  • These data, together with the previous findings on Foxn4, provide a model in which the Foxn4-Ptf1a pathway plays a central role in directing the differentiation of retinal progenitors towards horizontal and amacrine cell fates [4].

Anatomical context of Foxn4


Regulatory relationships of Foxn4

  • We show here that the Foxn4 winged helix/forkhead transcription factor is coexpressed with the bHLH factor Mash1 in a subset of p2 progenitors [3].
  • We show here in experiments conducted using mouse and chick that Foxn4 induces expression of delta-like 4 (Dll4) and Mash1 (Ascl1) [6].

Other interactions of Foxn4

  • A previously described Whn-like gene from zebrafish, now designated as whna, is shown to be the orthologue of the mouse Foxn4 gene [7].


  1. Foxn4 controls the genesis of amacrine and horizontal cells by retinal progenitors. Li, S., Mo, Z., Yang, X., Price, S.M., Shen, M.M., Xiang, M. Neuron (2004) [Pubmed]
  2. Out-foxing fate; molecular switches create neuronal diversity in the retina. Kay, J.N., Baier, H. Neuron (2004) [Pubmed]
  3. Foxn4 acts synergistically with Mash1 to specify subtype identity of V2 interneurons in the spinal cord. Li, S., Misra, K., Matise, M.P., Xiang, M. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2005) [Pubmed]
  4. Ptf1a determines horizontal and amacrine cell fates during mouse retinal development. Fujitani, Y., Fujitani, S., Luo, H., Qiu, F., Burlison, J., Long, Q., Kawaguchi, Y., Edlund, H., Macdonald, R.J., Furukawa, T., Fujikado, T., Magnuson, M.A., Xiang, M., Wright, C.V. Development (2006) [Pubmed]
  5. Foxn4--a new member of the forkhead gene family is expressed in the retina. Gouge, A., Holt, J., Hardy, A.P., Sowden, J.C., Smith, H.K. Mech. Dev. (2001) [Pubmed]
  6. A regulatory network involving Foxn4, Mash1 and delta-like 4/Notch1 generates V2a and V2b spinal interneurons from a common progenitor pool. Del Barrio, M.G., Taveira-Marques, R., Muroyama, Y., Yuk, D.I., Li, S., Wines-Samuelson, M., Shen, J., Smith, H.K., Xiang, M., Rowitch, D., Richardson, W.D. Development (2007) [Pubmed]
  7. A zebrafish orthologue (whnb) of the mouse nude gene is expressed in the epithelial compartment of the embryonic thymic rudiment. Schorpp, M., Leicht, M., Nold, E., Hammerschmidt, M., Haas-Assenbaum, A., Wiest, W., Boehm, T. Mech. Dev. (2002) [Pubmed]
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