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Gene Review

zic2-a  -  Zic family member 2

Xenopus laevis

Synonyms: hpe5, zic2
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High impact information on Zic2

  • Zic2 inhibits neurogenesis and induces neural crest differentiation [1].
  • We show that loss of maternal Zic2 results in persistent and increased expression of Xenopus nodal-related (Xnr) genes, except for Xnr4, and overall increased Nodal signaling [2].
  • In an expression screen to identify maternal factors important for early development, we isolated a truncated cDNA for maternal Zic2 (tZic2), encoding a zinc-finger transcription factor [2].
  • Depletion of maternal Zic2 from oocytes, using antisense oligonucleotides, caused exogastrulation, anterior truncations and axial defects [2].
  • Maternal Xenopus Zic2 negatively regulates Nodal-related gene expression during anteroposterior patterning [2].

Biological context of Zic2

  • In this study, we show that exogenous Six3 can expand the anterior neural plate in both Xenopus and zebrafish, and that this occurs in part through Six3-dependent transcriptional regulation of the cell cycle regulators cyclinD1 and p27Xic1, as well as the anti-neurogenic genes Zic2 and Xhairy2 [3].

Anatomical context of Zic2

  • When expressed in embryos, tZic2 inhibited head and axial development, and blocked the ability of full-length Zic2 to induce neural crest genes [2].
  • We show that retinoic acid expands the N-tubulin, X-ngnr-1, X-MyT1, X-&Dgr;-1 and Gli3 domains and inhibits the expression of Zic2 and sonic hedgehog in the neural ectoderm, whereas a retinoid antagonist produces opposite changes [4].

Associations of Zic2 with chemical compounds

  • In addition, retinoic acid cannot rescue the inhibitory effect of Notch(ICD), Zic2 or sonic hedgehog on primary neurogenesis [4].


  1. Gli/Zic factors pattern the neural plate by defining domains of cell differentiation. Brewster, R., Lee, J., Ruiz i Altaba, A. Nature (1998) [Pubmed]
  2. Maternal Xenopus Zic2 negatively regulates Nodal-related gene expression during anteroposterior patterning. Houston, D.W., Wylie, C. Development (2005) [Pubmed]
  3. Six3 functions in anterior neural plate specification by promoting cell proliferation and inhibiting Bmp4 expression. Gestri, G., Carl, M., Appolloni, I., Wilson, S.W., Barsacchi, G., Andreazzoli, M. Development (2005) [Pubmed]
  4. Functional association of retinoic acid and hedgehog signaling in Xenopus primary neurogenesis. Franco, P.G., Paganelli, A.R., López, S.L., Carrasco, A.E. Development (1999) [Pubmed]
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