DescriptionASCL1 (also known as ASH1) is a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor that is required for early development of the nervous system. Expressed in fetal brain, ASCL1 is essential for the proper development of autonomic neurons and for the survival of subsets of autonomic neurons. ASCL1 interaction with MEF-2A may regulate the expression of specific genes that are critical for the formation of distinct neuronal circuits within the central nervous system. The high level of ASCL1 expression in neuroendocrine tumors, such as medullary thyroid cancer, small cell lung cancer and lung cancer with neuroendocrine features may provide a useful marker for cancers with neuroendocrine features. Mapping to human chromosome 12, the ASCL1 gene contains a trinucleotide repeat region, making this locus a candidate for inherited disease.
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