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Dev Dyn. 2011 Nov;240(11):2529-38. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.22743. Epub 2011 Sep 19.

Embryonic expression of zebrafish MiT family genes tfe3b, tfeb, and tfec.

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Department of Human and Molecular Genetics and Massey Cancer Center, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, PO Box 980033, Richmond, Virginia 23298, USA.


The MiT family comprises four genes in mammals: Mitf, Tfe3, Tfeb, and Tfec, which encode transcription factors of the basic-helix-loop-helix/leucine zipper class. Mitf is well-known for its essential role in the development of melanocytes, however the functions of the other members of this family, and of interactions between them, are less well understood. We have now characterized the complete set of MiT genes from zebrafish, which totals six instead of four. The zebrafish genome contain two mitf (mitfa and mitfb), two tfe3 (tfe3a and tfe3b), and single tfeb and tfec genes; this distribution is shared with other teleosts. We present here the sequence and embryonic expression patterns for the zebrafish tfe3b, tfeb, and tfec genes, and identify a new isoform of tfe3a. These findings will assist in elucidating the roles of the MiT gene family over the course of vertebrate evolution.

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