bHLH proteins and their role in somitogenesis

Miguel Maroto, Tadahiro Iimura, J. Kim Dale, Yasumasa Bessho

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    The most obvious manifestation of the existence of a segmented, or metameric, body plan in vertebrate embryos is seen during the formation of the somites. Semites are transient embryonic structures formed in a progressive manner from a nonsegmented mesoderm in a highly regulated process called somitogenesis. As development proceeds different compartments are formed within each somite and these progressively follow a variety of differentiation programs to form segmented organs, such as the different bones that make the axial skeleton, body skeletal muscles and part of the dermis. Transcription factors from the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) protein family have been described to be implicated in each of the processes involved in somite formation. bHLH proteins are a family of transcription factors characterized by the presence of a DNA binding domain and a dimerization motif chat consists of a basic region adjacent to an amphipathic helix, a loop and a second amphipathic helix. In this chapter we will review a number of bHLH proteins known to play a role in somitogenesis.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSomitogenesis
    EditorsMiguel Maroto, Neil V. Whittock
    Place of PublicationBerlin
    Number of pages16
    ISBN (Electronic)9780387096063
    ISBN (Print)9780387096056, 9781441918710
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Publication series

    NameAdvances in experimental medicine and biology


    • Somite segmentation clock
    • Lunatic fringe expression
    • Cyclic gene expression
    • Muscle specific genes
    • Loop-helix repressor
    • Presomitic mesoderm
    • Paraxial mesoderm
    • Skeletal muscle
    • Neuronal differentiation
    • Zebrafish somitogenesis


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