Krox20 is a zinc finger gene expressed in rhombomeres 3 and 5 during hindbrain development in vertebrates. Mice homozygous for a targeted mutation that deletes the majority of the Krox20 genes, including the zinc finger DNA-binding domain, died shortly after birth. The primary phenotype of the homozygous mutant animals was the loss of rhombomeres 3 and 5. This resulted in fusions of the trigeminal ganglion with the facial and vestibular ganglia, and of the superior ganglia of the glossopharyngeal and vagus nerves. These fusions resulted in a disorganization of the nerve roots of these ganglia as they entered the brain stem. These data demonstrate that Krox20 plays an essential role during development of the hindbrain and associated cranial sensory ganglia in mice.
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