All in the family: Proneural bHLH genes and neuronal diversity

Nicholas E. Baker, Nadean L. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Proneural basic Helix-Loop-Helix (bHLH) proteins are required for neuronal determination and the differentiation of most neural precursor cells. These transcription factors are expressed in vastly divergent organisms, ranging from sponges to primates. Here, we review proneural bHLH gene evolution and function in the Drosophila and vertebrate nervous systems, arguing that the Drosophila gene atonal provides a useful platform for understanding proneural gene structure and regulation. We also discuss how functional equivalency experiments using distinct proneural genes can reveal how proneural gene duplication and divergence are interwoven with neuronal complexity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdev159426
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Neural development
  • Neurogenesis
  • Neuronal diversity
  • Proneural gene
  • bHLH gene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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