Correct development of the cerebellum requires coordinated sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling from Purkinje to granule cells. How Shh expression is regulated in Purkinje cells is poorly understood. Using a novel tyrosinase minigene-tagged Sleeping Beauty transposon-mediated mutagenesis, which allows for coat color-based genotyping, we created mice in which the Ski/Sno family transcriptional co-repressor 2 (Skor2) gene is deleted. Loss of Skor2 leads to defective Purkinje cell development, a severe reduction of granule cell proliferation and a malformed cerebellum. Skor2 is specifically expressed in Purkinje cells in the brain, where it is required for proper expression of Shh. Skor2 overexpression suppresses BMP signaling in an HDAC-dependent manner and stimulates Shh promoter activity, suggesting that Skor2 represses BMP signaling to activate Shh expression. Our study identifies an essential function for Skor2 as a novel transcriptional regulator in Purkinje cells that acts upstream of Shh during cerebellum development.
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