Transposon mutagenesis with coat color genotyping identifies an essential role for Skor2 in sonic hedgehog signaling and cerebellum development.
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.