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Dev Dyn. 2015 Jun;244(6):785-96. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.24260. Epub 2015 Apr 23.

High-resolution analysis of central nervous system expression patterns in zebrafish Gal4 enhancer-trap lines.

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Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Department of Human Genetics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.



The application of the Gal4/UAS system to enhancer and gene trapping screens in zebrafish has greatly increased the ability to label and manipulate cell populations in multiple tissues, including the central nervous system (CNS). However the ability to select existing lines for specific applications has been limited by the lack of detailed expression analysis.


We describe a Gal4 enhancer trap screen in which we used advanced image analysis, including three-dimensional confocal reconstructions and documentation of expression patterns at multiple developmental time points. In all, we have created and annotated 98 lines exhibiting a wide range of expression patterns, most of which include CNS expression. Expression was also observed in nonneural tissues such as muscle, skin epithelium, vasculature, and neural crest derivatives. All lines and data are publicly available from the Zebrafish International Research Center (ZIRC) from the Zebrafish Model Organism Database (ZFIN).


Our detailed documentation of expression patterns, combined with the public availability of images and fish lines, provides a valuable resource for researchers wishing to study CNS development and function in zebrafish. Our data also suggest that many existing enhancer trap lines may have previously uncharacterized expression in multiple tissues and cell types.


CNS; Gal4; confocal; neural circuit; zebrafish

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