Developmental cell fate choice in neural tube progenitors employs two distinct cis-regulatory strategies

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In many developing tissues, the patterns of gene expression that assign cell fate are organized by graded secreted signals. Cis-regulatory elements (CREs) interpret these signals to control gene expression, but how this is accomplished remains poorly understood. In the neural tube, a gradient of the morphogen sonic hedgehog (Shh) patterns neural progenitors. We identify two distinct ways in which CREs translate graded Shh into differential gene expression in mouse neural progenitors. In most progenitors, a common set of CREs control gene activity by integrating cell-type-specific inputs. By contrast, the most ventral progenitors use a unique set of CREs, established by the pioneer factor FOXA2. This parallels the role of FOXA2 in endoderm, where FOXA2 binds some of the same sites. Together, the data identify distinct cis-regulatory strategies for the interpretation of morphogen signaling and raise the possibility of an evolutionarily conserved role for FOXA2 across tissues.

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Volume 58
Issue number 1
Pages 3-17.e8
Available online
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