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Fez Family Transcription Factors During Nervous System Development


The profound diversity of cell types within the nervous system has been appreciated for greater than a century. However, the mechanisms by which these different cell types are generated during development remain elusive. Here I focus on the roles of two closely related zinc-finger transcription factors, Fezf1 and Fezf2, during development of the olfactory system and cerebral cortex. I show that Fezf1 functions to promote the development and cell fate specification of sensory neurons within the main olfactory epithelium. Conversely, Fezf2 is required for developmental maintenance of the vomeronasal organ. Further, I show that during development of the cerebral cortex, Fezf2 expression identifies a multipotent progenitor for neocortical projection neurons and glia. Finally, I demonstrate that transcription of Fezf2 is regulated by multiple non-coding DNA elements that promote its expression across distinct domains of the cerebral cortex. Collectively, these studies illustrate the critical functions of Fez family transcription factors during development of the mammalian nervous system.

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