The HMG box transcription factor gene Sox14 marks a novel subset of ventral interneurons and is regulated by sonic hedgehog.
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Cell-type diversity along the dorsoventral axis of the developing neural tube is influenced by factors secreted by groups of cells at the dorsal and ventral midline. Upon reception of these signals, precursor cells express specific sets of transcription factors which, in turn, play critical roles in cell-type specification. Here we report the cloning and characterization of Sox14, a novel and highly conserved member of the Sry-related Sox transcription factor gene family, in mouse and chick. Sox14 expression is restricted to a limited population of neurons in the developing brain and spinal cord of both species. Sox14 marks a subset of interneurons at a defined dorsoventral position adjacent to ventral motor neurons in the spinal cord. In vivo grafting of chick notochord tissue to ectopic positions adjacent to the developing spinal cord altered the expression domain of Sox14. Furthermore, expression of Sox14 in spinal cord explants was found to be regulated by Sonic hedgehog in a dose-dependent manner. These data implicate a novel class of transcription factors in dorsoventral cell-type specification in the spinal cord. Copyright 2000 Academic Press.