Zhou, JW (reprint author), Chinese Acad Sci, Inst Neurosci, 320 Yueyang Rd, Shanghai 200031, Peoples R China,email@example.com
Mesodiencephalic dopaminergic (mDA) neurons are critical for movement control and other physiological activities. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying their development are poorly understood. We aimed to establish the expression profiles of genes involved in this process and unravel genetic programs that control late development of mDA neurons. We compared genome-wide gene expression profiles of developing mouse ventral mesencephalon (VM) using microarrays. We identified a set of genes that show spatially and temporally restricted expression in the VM in an Ngn2 ( neurogenin 2)-dependent manner and are potentially important for mDA neuron development. Functional analysis on mice lacking the VM-specific gene early B-cell factor 1 (Ebf1) revealed that Ebf1 is essential for the terminal migration of mDA neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta. Thus, we identified a set of VM-enriched genes that are important for mDA neuron development. Our analysis also provides a genetic framework for further investigation of the molecular mechanisms mediating mDA neuron development.