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Gene X. 2019 Jun;2:100011. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2019.100011.

Characterization of paralogous uncx transcription factor encoding genes in zebrafish.

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Biology and Evolution of Marine Organisms, Zoological Station Anton Dohrn, 80121 Naples, Italy.
Immunrise Technologies, 75005 Paris, France.
Department of Developmental Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research, 61231 Bad Nauheim, Germany.
Orphanet, French National Institute for Health and Medical Research, 75014 Paris, France.
Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, 02115 Boston, USA.
Human Genetics,Wellcome Sanger Institute, CB10 1SA Hinxton, UK.
Department of Biology, University of Naples Federico II, 80126 Naples, Italy.
Laboratory for Developmental Genetics, RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences, 230-0045 Yokohama, Japan.
Department of Science and Technology, University of Sannio, 82100 Benevento, Italy.
School of Life Sciences, Federal Institute of Technology, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.
University of Geneva, 1205 Geneva, Switzerland.
Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University College London, WC1E6BT London, UK.


The paired-type homeodomain transcription factor Uncx is involved in multiple processes of embryogenesis in vertebrates. Reasoning that zebrafish genes uncx4.1 and uncx are orthologs of mouse Uncx, we studied their genomic environment and developmental expression. Evolutionary analyses indicate the zebrafish uncx genes as being paralogs deriving from teleost-specific whole-genome duplication. Whole-mount in situ mRNA hybridization of uncx transcripts in zebrafish embryos reveals novel expression domains, confirms those previously known, and suggests sub-functionalization of paralogs. Using genetic mutants and pharmacological inhibitors, we investigate the role of signaling pathways on the expression of zebrafish uncx genes in developing somites. In identifying putative functional role(s) of zebrafish uncx genes, we hypothesized that they encode transcription factors that coordinate growth and innervation of somitic muscles.


AP, antero-posterior; Ace, acerebellar; CAMP, conserved ancestral microsyntenic pairs; CNE, conserved non-coding elements; CRM, cis-regulatory module; CS, Corpuscle of Stannius; CaP, caudal primary motor neuron axons; Ce, cerebellum; Development; Di, diencephalon; Elfn1, Extracellular Leucine Rich Repeat And Fibronectin Type III Domain Containing 1; Ey, eye; FB, forebrain; FGF, fibroblast growth factor; Flh, floating head; HB, hindbrain; HM, hybridization mix; Hy, hypothalamus; MO, morpholino; Mical, molecule interacting with CasL; No, notochord; OP, olfactory placode; OT, optic tectum; PA, pharyngeal arches; PSM, presomitic mesoderm; SC, spinal cord; Shh, sonic hedgehog; Signaling pathway; So, somites; Synteny; TSGD; TSGD, teleost-specific genome duplication; Te, telencephalon; Th, thalamus; Uncx; VLP, ventro-lateral-posterior; WIHC, whole-mount immunohistochemistry; WISH, whole-mount in situ hybridization; YE, yolk extension; Yo, yolk; Zebrafish; cyc, cyclops; fss, fused-somites; hpf, hours post fertilization; ptc, patched; smu, slow-muscle-omitted; syu, sonic-you; yot, you-too

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