Deciphering SP8 regulative network for cortical development

The transcriptional network regulating forebrain development remains relatively unknown. Molecules secreted by the different forebrain signaling centers establish the expression gradients of specific transcriptional factors, which are necessary for the patterning and differentiation of the distinct structural and functional domains of the cerebral cortex.
To get new insights into the transcriptional regulation of forebrain development we focused on the role of SP8, a zinc finger transcription factor involved in early patterning and arealization of the cortex.
Genome wide analysis of the SP8 binding sites and genetic manipulation of SP8 expression in the developing pallium allowed us to identify for the first time SP8 direct target genes, and to determine a novel role for SP8 as a key transcriptional regulator of the first wave of cortical neurons differentiation.