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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2005 Feb;16(1):95-106. Epub 2004 Dec 10.

Using the zebrafish model to study GATA transcription factors.

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Department of Developmental and Molecular Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Chanin Room 501, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.


The zebrafish is an established animal model system that profits from the availability of strong experimental approaches in both genetics and embryology. As a vertebrate, zebrafish can be used to model many aspects of human development and disease. GATA transcription factors play important roles in the development of many organ systems, including those for hematopoietic, cardiovascular, reproductive, and gut-endoderm derived tissues. The six vertebrate GATA factors are highly conserved in zebrafish at the level of sequence, expression pattern, and function. The identification of mutants, establishment of transgenic GFP reporter fish, and the ease of performing loss- and gain-of-function experiments have all contributed new insight into our understanding of the regulation and function of GATA factors. We review recent advances toward this goal using the zebrafish system with a focus on hematopoiesis and cardiogenesis, and suggest how comparative genetics using the zebrafish genes might reveal core conserved properties, as well as changes in gene function that reflect different morphogenetic programs utilized by various vertebrate embryos.

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