Pax6 is a transcription factor involved in brain patterning and neurogenesis. Expression of Pax6 is specifically observed in the developing cerebral cortex, where Lewis x epitope that is thought to play important roles in cell interactions is colocalized. Here we examined whether Pax6 regulates localization of Lewis x using Pax6 mutant rat embryos. The Lewis x epitope disappeared in the Pax6 mutant cortex, and activity of α1,3-fucosyltransferase, which catalyzed the last step of Lewis x biosynthesis, drastically decreased in the mutant cortex as compared with the wild type. Furthermore, expression of a fucosyltransferase gene, FucT-IX, specifically decreased in the mutant, while no change was seen for expression of another fucosyltransferase gene, FucT-IV. These results strongly suggest that Pax6 controls Lewis x expression in the embryonic brain by regulating FucT-IX gene expression.
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