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J Comp Neurol. 2005 Feb 28;483(1):17-29.

A distinct preisthmic histogenetic domain is defined by overlap of Otx2 and Pax2 gene expression in the avian caudal midbrain.

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Department of Cell Biology, School of Sciences, University of Extremadura, E06071 Badajoz, Spain.


Correlative in situ hybridization of Otx2, Pax2, Gbx2, and Fgf8 mRNA probes in adjacent serial sections through the chicken midbrain and isthmus at early to intermediate stages of development served to map in detail the area of overlap of Otx2 and Pax2 transcripts in the caudal midbrain. The neuronal populations developing within this preisthmic domain made up a caudal part of the midbrain reticular formation, the interfascicular nucleus, and the magnocellular (pre)isthmic nucleus, plus the corresponding part of the periaqueductal gray. The torus semicircularis-the inferior colliculus homolog-expressed Otx2 in its ventricular lining exclusively, but it never expressed Pax2. The parvicellular isthmic nucleus, although placed inside the midbrain lobe, never expressed Otx2, and its cells rapidly down-regulated an early transient Pax2 signal; this pattern is consistent with its reported isthmic origin and forward tangential translocation. This analysis reveals the existence of four distinct midbrain histogenetic domains along the longitudinal axis, at least for the alar plate. These presumably result from step-like isthmic organizer effects on Otx2-expressing midbrain neuroepithelium at different distances from a caudal FGF8 morphogen source (isthmic Fgf8-positive domain). The final phenotypes of these domains are histologically diverse and make up the griseum tectale (rostrally), the optic tectum, the torus semicircularis, and the presently characterized preisthmic domain (lying closest to the isthmic organizer). Available comparative data for reptiles and mammals suggest the general validity of this scheme.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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