This gene encodes a member of the bHLH family of transcription factors and plays a key role in defining the rostrocaudal patterning of somites via interactions with multiple Notch signaling pathways. This gene is expressed in the anterior presomitic mesoderm and is downregulated immediately after the formation of segmented somites. This gene also plays a role in the formation of epithelial somitic mesoderm and cardiac mesoderm. In zebrafish, the homolog mesp-b is critical for dermomyotome development.
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