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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Emx2: a gene responsible for cortical development, regionalization and area specification.

Mouse Emx2 homeobox gene is a very good dorsal marker for the developing cerebral cortex, as it is mainly expressed in this area from the very beginning of corticogenesis. Its cortical expression includes proliferating neuroblasts of the neuroepithelium, or ventricular zone, and the postmitotic Cajal-Retzius cells, known to control neuronal radial migration. Analysis of the phenotype of Emx2 null embryos has shown that this transcription factor plays important roles in neuroblast proliferation, migration and differentiation, as well as in the development of the diencephalon, where it has been shown to cooperate with Otx2. Moreover, the graded distribution of EMX2 homeoprotein along the antero-posterior and medial-lateral cortical axis, is responsible for the patterning of the forebrain, in particular for the specification process that defines cortical territories and area identity during neocortical development. Emx2 participates to this process as Pax6 and COUP-TF1. Finally Emx2 is very interesting from the evolutionary point of view, as it has been shown to share a high degree of homology in its sequence and function with Vax1, another homeobox gene regulating basal forebrain development. This homology traces back to Emx and Vax gene families, which are strongly related, as they are thought to derive from a common ancestor gene.[1]


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