Cooperative transcription activation by Nurr1 and Pitx3 induces embryonic stem cell maturation to the midbrain dopamine neuron phenotype.
Midbrain dopamine (DA) neurons play a central role in the regulation of voluntary movement, and their degeneration is associated with Parkinson's disease. Cell replacement therapies, and in particular embryonic stem (ES) cell-derived DA neurons, offer a potential therapeutic venue for Parkinson's disease. We sought to identify genes that can potentiate maturation of ES cell cultures to the midbrain DA neuron phenotype. A number of transcription factors have been implicated in the development of midbrain DA neurons by expression analyses and loss-of-function knockout mouse studies, including Nurr1, Pitx3, Lmx1b, Engrailed-1, and Engrailed-2. However, none of these factors appear sufficient alone to induce the mature midbrain DA neuron phenotype in ES cell cultures in vitro, suggesting a more complex regulatory network. Here we show that Nurr1 and Pitx3 cooperatively promote terminal maturation to the midbrain DA neuron phenotype in murine and human ES cell cultures.
Martinat, C; Bacci, J-J; Leete, T; Kim, J; Vanti, WB; Newman, AH; Cha, JH; Gether, U; Wang, H; Abeliovich, A
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