Expression patterns of the E2F family of transcription factors during mouse nervous system development

L. Dagnino, C. J. Fry, S. M. Bartley, P. Farnham, B. L. Gallie, R. A. Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


The E2F family of transcription factors consists of two subgroups termed E2F and DP. E2F is required for cell proliferation, and is necessary for fruit fly development. E2F activity is a target for regulation by the retinoblastoma gent family, which includes pRB, p107 and p130. Mutant RB(-/- ), RB(-/-):p107(-/-) and p107(-/-):p130(-/-) mice develop abnormally, probably as a result of dysregulation in the activity of E2F, indicating the importance of E2F in mammalian development. To investigate the role of E2F in murine development, we have examined the patterns of expression of E2F-1 through E2F-5, and DP-1 in the developing nervous system by in situ hybridization. E2F-1, E2F-2 and E2F5 are first detected in the 9.5 days post- coitus (dpc) forebrain. Expression of these E2F forms extends caudally thereafter and includes the developing brain and the upper half of the 10.5 dpc spinal cord. By 11.5 dpc, these E2F factors are expressed throughout the central nervous system. In 12.5 dpc embryos, E2F-1, E2F-2 and E2F-5 are highly expressed in proliferating, undifferentiated neuronal precursors. As neurons differentiate and migrate to the outer marginal zones in the nervous system, expression of these E2F members is extinguished. In the developing retina, another neuronal tissue, E2F-1 expression is also confined to the proliferating, undifferentiated retinoblastic layer. In contrast, E2F-3 expression is up-regulated as retinoblasts differentiate into the ganglion cell layer. In non-neuronal tissues, high E2F-4 transcript levels are present in regions corresponding to proliferative chondrocytes, whereas E2F-2 and E2F-4 transcripts are very abundant in the thymic cortex, which contains immature thymocytes. We conclude that individual E2F forms are differentially regulated during the development of distinct tissues and especially during neuronal development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-25
Number of pages13
JournalMechanisms of Development
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Aug 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • E2F
  • Mouse nervous system development
  • Transcription factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Expression patterns of the E2F family of transcription factors during mouse nervous system development'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this