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SBE6, a novel long-range enhancer involved in driving Sonic Hedgehog expression in neural progenitor cells

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Original languageEnglish
JournalOpen Biology
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2016


The expression of genes with key roles in development is under very tight spatial and temporal control, mediated by enhancers. A classic example of this is the sonic hedgehog gene (Shh) that plays a pivotal role in the proliferation, differentiation and survival of neural progenitor cells both in vivo and in vitro. Shh expression in the brain is tightly controlled by several known enhancers that have been identified through genetic, genomic and functional assays. Using chromatin profiling during the differentiation of embryonic stem cells to neural progenitor cells, here we report the identification of a novel long-range enhancer for Shh - Shh-Brain-Enhancer-6 (SBE6) – that is located 100kb upstream of Shh and that is required for the proper induction of Shh expression during this differentiation programme. This element is capable of driving expression in the vertebrate brain. Our study illustrates how a chromatin focussed approach, coupled to in vivo testing, can be used to identify new cell-type specific cis-regulatory elements and points to yet further complexity in the control of Shh expression during embryonic brain development.

    Research areas

  • Sonic Hedgehog, Long-Range Enhancer , Neural Progenitor Cells

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