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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Mar 14;92(6):2249-53.

Expression of the zinc-finger gene PLZF at rhombomere boundaries in the vertebrate hindbrain.

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  • 1Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology, Medical Research Council National Institute for Medical Research, London, United Kingdom.


To investigate the potential biological role(s) of the PLZF gene, discovered as a fusion with the RARA locus in a patient with acute promyelocytic leukemia harboring a t(11;17) chromosomal translocation, we have isolated its murine homologue (mPLZF) and studied its patterns of developmental expression. The levels of mPLZF mRNAs increased perinatally in the liver, heart, and kidney, but with the exception of the heart, they were either absent or very low in the adult tissues. In situ analysis of mPLZF expression in mouse embryos between 7.0 and 10.5 days of development revealed that mPLZF mRNAs and proteins were coexpressed in spatially restricted and temporally dynamic patterns in the central nervous system. In the hindbrain region, a segmental pattern of expression correlated with the development of the rhombomeres. From 9.0 days of development, starting first in rhombomeres 3 and 5, there was an ordered down-regulation of expression in the center of each rhombomere, so that 1 day later elevated levels of mPLZF mRNAs and proteins were restricted to cells surrounding the rhombomeric boundaries. The chicken homologue of the PLZF gene, which we have also cloned, demonstrated a similar segmental pattern of expression in the hindbrain. To date, PLZF represents the only example of a transcription factor with elevated expression at rhombomeric boundaries. The high degree of evolutionary conservation between the patterns of PLZF expression during mammalian and avian central nervous system development suggests that it has an important functional role in the regionalization of the vertebrate hindbrain, potentially regulating boundary cell interactions.

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