Krox20 hindbrain cis-regulatory landscape: interplay between multiple long-range initiation and autoregulatory elements

Abstract : The vertebrate hindbrain is subject to a transient segmentation process leading to the formation of seven or eight metameric territories termed rhombomeres (r). This segmentation provides the basis for the subsequent establishment of hindbrain neuronal organization and participates in the patterning of the neural crest involved in craniofacial development. The zinc-finger gene Krox20 is expressed in r3 and r5, and encodes a transcription factor that plays a key role in hindbrain segmentation, coordinating segment formation, specification of odd- and even-numbered rhombomeres, and cell segregation between adjacent segments, through the regulation of numerous downstream genes. In order to further elucidate the genetic network underlying hindbrain segmentation, we have undertaken the analysis of the cis-regulatory sequences governing Krox20 expression. We have found that the control of Krox20 transcription relies on three very long-range (200 kb) enhancer elements (A, B and C) that are conserved between chick, mouse and human genomes. Elements B and C are activated at the earliest stage of Krox20 expression in r5 and r3-r5, respectively, and do not require the Krox20 protein. These elements are likely to function as initiators of Krox20 expression. Element B contains a binding site for the transcription factor vHNF1, the mutation of which abolishes its activity, suggesting that vHNF1 is a direct initiator of Krox20 expression in r5. Element A contains Krox20-binding sites, which are required, together with the Krox20 protein, for its activity. This element therefore allows the establishment of a direct positive autoregulatory loop, which takes the relay of the initiator elements and maintains Krox20 expression. Together, our studies provide a basis for a model of the molecular mechanisms controlling Krox20 expression in the developing hindbrain and neural crest.
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Diane Chomette, Monique Frain, Silvia Cereghini, Patrick Charnay, Julien Ghislain. Krox20 hindbrain cis-regulatory landscape: interplay between multiple long-range initiation and autoregulatory elements. Development (Cambridge, England), Company of Biologists, 2006, 133 (7), pp.1253-1262. ⟨10.1242/dev.02289⟩. ⟨hal-02265303⟩



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