A cis-element in the Notch1 locus is involved in the regulation of gene expression in interneuron progenitors

Evangeline Tzatzalos, Shannon M. Smith, Sung Tae Doh, Hailing Hao, Ying Li, Alson Wu, Martin Grumet, Li Cai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Interneurons comprise approximately one third of the total cortical neurons in the mammalian cerebral cortex. Studies have revealed many details in the generation of this cell type. However, the mechanism that defines interneuron-lineage specific gene expression is not well understood. Gene regulatory elements, e.g., promoters, enhancers, and trans-acting factors, are essential for the proper control of gene expression. Here, we report that a novel evolutionarily conserved cis-element in the second intron of the Notch1 locus plays an important role in regulating gene expression in interneuron progenitors. The spatiotemporal activity of the cis-element in the developing central nervous system (CNS) was determined by both transient reporter expression in the developing chick and a transgenic mouse model. Its activity is well correlated with neurogenesis in both the chick and mouse and restricted to neural progenitor cells in the ganglionic eminence that are fated to differentiate into GABAergic interneurons of the neocortex. We further demonstrate that the cis-element activity requires the binding motif for trans-acting factors Gsh1/Barx2/Brn3. Deletion of this binding motif abolishes reporter gene expression. Together, these data provide new insights into the regulatory mechanisms of interneuron development in the vertebrate CNS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-228
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 15 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


  • Cis-element
  • GABAergic
  • Gene expression interneuron
  • Neural progenitor cells
  • Notch1


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