Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Neuroscience

pp 803-807

Combinatorial Transcription Factor Codes and Neuron Specification

  • Douglas W. AllanAffiliated withDepartment of Cellular and Physiological Sciences, University of British Columbia

Synonyms

Transcription factor codes; Combinatorial action of transcription factors; Neuronal determination; Neuronal differentiation

Definition

A “combinatorial code” of transcription factors is commonly used to refer to two related phenomena in the specification of neurons:
  1. 1.

    Cellular definition. i) A combination of transcription factors that is required together to activate or repress a certain gene in a certain cell. ii) A combination of transcription factors that is required together to execute a neuron’s distinct differentiation program.

     
  2. 2.

    Developmental definition. i) The difference in the combination of transcription factors, between neurons, that accounts for their distinct gene expression profiles. ii) A spatial or temporal transition in transcription factor expression that confers a distinct program of neuronal differentiation or gene expression.

     

Characteristics

The nervous system contains many different types of neurons, whose differences ultimately ...

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