Expression pattern of delta-like 1 homolog in developing sympathetic neurons and chromaffin cells



El Faitwri T, Huber K.


Gene Expr Patterns. 2018 Dec;30:49-54. doi: 10.1016/j.gep.2018.08.005. Epub 2018 Aug 23.


Delta-like 1 homolog (DLK1) is a member of the epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like family and an atypical notch ligand that is widely expressed during early mammalian development with putative functions in the regulation of cell differentiation and proliferation. During later stages of development, DLK1 is downregulated and becomes increasingly restricted to specific cell types, including several types of endocrine cells. DLK1 has been linked to various tumors and associated with tumor stem cell features. Sympathoadrenal precursors are neural crest derived cells that give rise to either sympathetic neurons of the autonomic nervous system or the endocrine chromaffin cells located in the adrenal medulla or extraadrenal positions. As these cells are the putative cellular origin of neuroblastoma, one of the most common malignant tumors in early childhood, their molecular characterization is of high clinical importance. In this study we have examined the precise spatiotemporal expression of DLK1 in developing sympathoadrenal cells. We show that DLK1 mRNA is highly expressed in early sympathetic neuron progenitors and that its expression depends on the presence of Phox2B. DLK1 expression becomes quickly restricted to a small subpopulation of cells in sympathetic ganglia, while virtually all chromaffin cells in the adrenal medulla and the Organ of Zuckerkandl still express high levels of DLK1 at late gestational stages. CI – Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Link/DOI: 10.1016/j.gep.2018.08.005