Members of the steroid/thyroid hormone receptor superfamily are involved in the control of cell identity and of pattern formation during embryonic development. Chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factors (COUP-TFs) can act as regulators of various steroid/thyroid hormone receptor pathways. To begin to study the role of COUP-TFs during embryogenesis, we cloned a chicken COUP-TF (cCOUP-TF II) which is highly homologous to human COUP-TF II. Northern analysis revealed high levels of cCOUP-TF II transcripts during organogenesis. Nuclear extracts from whole embryos and from embryonic spinal cords were used in electrophoretic mobility shift assays. These assays showed that COUP-TF protein is present in these tissues and is capable of binding to a COUP element (a direct repeat of AGGTCA with one base pair spacing). Analysis of cCOUP-TF expression by in situ hybridization revealed high levels of cCOUP-TF II mRNA in the developing spinal motor neurons. Since the ventral properties of the spinal cord, including the development of motor neurons, is in part established by inductive signals from the notochord, we transplanted an additional notochord next to the dorsal region of the neural tube in order to induce ectopic motor neurons. We observed that an ectopic notochord induced cCOUP-TF II gene expression in the dorsal spinal cord in a region coextensive with ectopic domains of SC1 and Islet-1, two previously identified motor neuron markers. Collectively, our studies raise the possibility that cCOUP-TF II is involved in motor neuron development.
Developmental regulation of the orphan receptor COUP-TF II gene in spinal motor neurons
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B. Lutz, S. Kuratani, A.J. Cooney, S. Wawersik, S.Y. Tsai, G. Eichele, M.J. Tsai; Developmental regulation of the orphan receptor COUP-TF II gene in spinal motor neurons. Development 1 January 1994; 120 (1): 25–36. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/dev.120.1.25
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