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Keywords:

  • mouse;
  • somitogenesis;
  • segmentation;
  • T-box;
  • Tbx6;
  • Dll1;
  • Notch

Abstract

Tbx6 is a member of the T-box family of transcription factors. In the mouse, Tbx6 is expressed in the primitive streak, tail bud, and presomitic mesoderm and is essential for the specification of posterior paraxial mesoderm; in its absence, posterior somites are replaced by ectopic neural tubes. Analysis of embryos expressing reduced levels of Tbx6 also revealed that it is required for the correct patterning of the somites as well as their initial specification. As a first step toward identifying downstream targets of Tbx6, we examined the DNA binding properties of Tbx6 and identified a Tbx6 consensus binding site. Previously, we have shown that expression of Dll1, which encodes a Notch ligand, is lost in the Tbx6 mutant and that Tbx6 and Dll1 genetically interact, indicating that Dll1 may be a direct target of Tbx6 in the paraxial mesoderm. We uncovered four putative Tbx6 binding sites within a Dll1 paraxial mesoderm enhancer and show that Tbx6 can bind two of these sites in vitro. Altogether, these results lend further support for Dll1 being a direct target of Tbx6 in the presomitic mesoderm. genesis 42:193–202, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.