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The motor neuron (MN)-hexamer complex consisting of LIM homeobox 3, Islet-1, and nuclear LIM interactor is a key determinant of motor neuron specification and differentiation. To gain insights into the transcriptional network in motor neuron development, we performed a genome-wide ChIP-sequencing analysis and found that the MN-hexamer directly regulates a wide array of motor neuron genes by binding to the HxRE (hexamer response element) shared among the target genes. Interestingly, STAT3-binding motif is highly enriched in the MN-hexamer-bound peaks in addition to the HxRE. We also found that a transcriptionally active form of STAT3 is expressed in embryonic motor neurons and that STAT3 associates with the MN-hexamer, enhancing the transcriptional activity of the MN-hexamer in an upstream signal-dependent manner. Correspondingly, STAT3 was needed for motor neuron differentiation in the developing spinal cord. Together, our studies uncover crucial gene regulatory mechanisms that couple MN-hexamer and STAT-activating extracellular signals to promote motor neuron differentiation in vertebrate spinal cord.


Seunghee Lee, Rongkun Shen, Hyong-Ho Cho, Ryuk-Jun Kwon, So Yeon Seo, Jae W Lee, Soo-Kyung Lee. STAT3 promotes motor neuron differentiation by collaborating with motor neuron-specific LIM complex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2013 Jul 9;110(28):11445-50

PMID: 23798382

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