Snail1 gene function during early embryo patterning in mice.

Document Type


Publication Date



Animals, Body-Patterning, Cell-Differentiation, Embryo, Gastrula, Gene-Expression-Regulation-Developmental, Mesoderm, Mice, Neural-Crest, Transcription-Factors

JAX Location

see Reprint Collection

JAX Source

Cell Cycle 2006 Nov; 5(22):2566-70.


Originally identified as one of two zygotically expressed genes required for gastrulation in Drosophila, the Snail gene and other family members play critical roles in vertebrate development. Functionally, these genes are thought to drive epithelial-mesenchymal transitions at several points during development, and also during the metastatic progression of cancer. Although the Snai2-null mouse is viable and fertile, the early embryonic lethality of Snai1-null mice has precluded the detailed analysis of Snai1 function after gastrulation. We have recently generated a conditional allele of the Snai1 gene and examined its function during the formation of the neural crest and establishment of the left-right axis. We uncovered new details regarding Snai1 function during gastrulation and left-right asymmetry determination, while surprisingly showing that neither the Snai1 nor Snai2 genes are essential for neural crest cell delamination. These results shed new light on the role of Snail family genes in early mouse development, and raise interesting questions concerning the diversity of gene function among vertebrate species.

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