Phox2b and the homeostatic brain

Author: J. F. Brunet
Submitted: Monday 14th of September 2009 02:06:41 PM
Submitted by: egf
Educational levels: expert, qc2, qc3


The autonomic or visceral nervous system (VNS) is a set of reflex circuits, passing through the hindbrain and spinal cord, that maintains bodily homeostasis, through the regulation of three cardinal functions: respiratory, cardiovascular and digestive. It has emerged over the past ten years that, quite unexpectedly, this diverse assemblage of neurons, whose structure will be briefly reviewed, behaves during development like a single organ, with a dedicated master regulatory gene —the homeodomain transcription factor Phox2b— expressed and required throughout. I will discuss this striking ontogenetic unity of the VNS from the points of view of embryonic development, physiopathology and phylogeny.


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J. F. Brunet. Phox2b and the homeostatic brain. EUROGENE portal. September 2009. online:

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