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  Pax6 and SOX2 Form a co-DNA-Binding Partner Complex that Regulates Initiation of Lens Development

 

 

Pax6 is a key transcription factor in lens development, but its molecular action has not been clarified. We demonstrate that Pax6 initiates lens development by forming a molecular complex with SOX2 on the lens-specific enhancer element, e.g., the δ-crystallin minimal enhancer DC5 (B). In normal lens development, expression of Pax6 starts before the placode formation in the eye surface ectoderm, while expression of SOX2 is activated by the inductive signal of the optic vesicle within the Pax6-expressing ectoderm, and the cells that express both transcription factors undergo lens placode development (A). When ectopically expressed in embryo ectoderm by electroporation (C), Pax6 and SOX2 in combination activate δ-crystallin gene and elicit lens placode development (D), indicating that the complex of Pax6 and SOX2 formed on specific DNA sequences is the genetic switch for initiation of lens differentiation.

*Copyright (2001) Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Genes and Development, 15, 1272-1286, Kamachi, Y., Uchikawa, M., Tanouchi, R., Sekido, R., Kondoh, H.

 

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