The transcription factor Sox2 is expressed at high levels in neural stem and progenitor cells. Here, we inactivated Sox2 specifically in the developing brain by using Cre-loxP system. Although mutant animals did not survive after birth, analysis of late gestation embryos revealed that loss of Sox2 causes enlargement of the lateral ventricles and a decrease in the number of neurosphere-forming cells. However, although their neurogenic potential is attenuated, Sox2-deficient neural stem cells retain their multipotency and self-renewal capacity. We found that expression level of Sox3 is elevated in Sox2 null developing brain, probably mitigating the effects of loss of Sox2.
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