Molecular and cellular neurosciences

Uncx regulates proliferation of neural progenitor cells and neuronal survival in the olfactory epithelium.

PMID 20692344


Uncx (Phd1, Chx4) is a paired homeobox transcription factor gene. It and its probable functional partners, Tle co-repressors, were expressed by neurally-fated basal progenitor cells and olfactory sensory neurons of the olfactory epithelium. Uncx expression was rare in olfactory epithelia of Ascl1(-/-) mice, but common in Neurog1(-/-) mice. In Uncx(-/-) mice olfactory progenitor cell proliferation, progenitor cell number, olfactory sensory neuron survival, and Umodl1 and Kcnc4 mRNAs were reduced. Evidence of sensory neuron activity and functional connections to the olfactory bulb argue that decreased neuronal survival was not due to loss of trophic support or activity-dependent mechanisms. These data suggest that UNCX acts downstream of neural determination factors to broadly control transcriptional mechanisms used by neural progenitor cells to specify neural phenotypes.