TALE transcription factors during early development of the vertebrate brain and eye

Authors

  • Dorothea Schulte,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Neurology (Edinger Institute), University Hospital Frankfurt, J.W. Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany
    • Correspondence to: Dorothea Schulte, Institute of Neurology (Edinger Institute) University Hospital Frankfurt, J.W. Goethe University, 60528 Frankfurt, Germany. E-mail: dorothea.schulte@kgu.de or Dale Frank, Department of Biochemistry, The Rappaport Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 31096, Israel. E-mail: dale@tx.technion.ac.il

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  • Dale Frank

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biochemistry, The Rappaport Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
    • Correspondence to: Dorothea Schulte, Institute of Neurology (Edinger Institute) University Hospital Frankfurt, J.W. Goethe University, 60528 Frankfurt, Germany. E-mail: dorothea.schulte@kgu.de or Dale Frank, Department of Biochemistry, The Rappaport Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 31096, Israel. E-mail: dale@tx.technion.ac.il

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Abstract

Our brain's cognitive performance arises from the coordinated activities of billions of nerve cells. Despite a high degree of morphological and functional differences, all neurons of the vertebrate central nervous system (CNS) arise from a common field of multipotent progenitors. Cell fate specification and differentiation are directed by multistep processes that include inductive/external cues, such as the extracellular matrix or growth factors, and cell-intrinsic determinants, such as transcription factors and epigenetic modulators of proteins and DNA. Here we review recent findings implicating TALE-homeodomain proteins in these processes. Although originally identified as HOX-cofactors, TALE proteins also contribute to many physiological processes that do not require HOX-activity. Particular focus is, therefore, given to HOX-dependent and -independent functions of TALE proteins during early vertebrate brain development. Additionally, we provide an overview about known upstream and downstream factors of TALE proteins in the developing vertebrate brain and discuss general concepts of how TALE proteins function to modulate neuronal cell fate specification. Developmental Dynamics 243:99–116, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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