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PLoS One. 2009 Jun 17;4(6):e5944. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005944.

Mosaic hoxb4a neuronal pleiotropism in zebrafish caudal hindbrain.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Neuroscience, New York University Medical Center, New York, New York, United States of America.

Abstract

To better understand how individual genes and experience influence behavior, the role of a single homeotic unit, hoxb4a, was comprehensively analyzed in vivo by clonal and retrograde fluorescent labeling of caudal hindbrain neurons in a zebrafish enhancer-trap YFP line. A quantitative spatiotemporal neuronal atlas showed hoxb4a activity to be highly variable and mosaic in rhombomere 7-8 reticular, motoneuronal and precerebellar nuclei with expression decreasing differentially in all subgroups through juvenile stages. The extensive Hox mosaicism and widespread pleiotropism demonstrate that the same transcriptional protein plays a role in the development of circuits that drive behaviors from autonomic through motor function including cerebellar regulation. We propose that the continuous presence of hoxb4a positive neurons may provide a developmental plasticity for behavior-specific circuits to accommodate experience- and growth-related changes. Hence, the ubiquitous hoxb4a pleitropism and modularity likely offer an adaptable transcriptional element for circuit modification during both growth and evolution.

PMID:
19536294
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2693931
Free PMC Article
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