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Identification of neural crest and glial enhancers at the mouse Sox10 locus through transgenesis in zebrafish.

Sox10 is a dynamically regulated transcription factor gene that is essential for the development of neural crest-derived and oligodendroglial populations. Developmental genes often require multiple regulatory sequences that integrate discrete and overlapping functions to coordinate their expression. To identify Sox10 cis-regulatory elements, we integrated multiple model systems, including cell-based screens and transposon-mediated transgensis in zebrafish, to scrutinize mammalian conserved, noncoding genomic segments at the mouse Sox10 locus. We demonstrate that eight of 11 Sox10 genomic elements direct reporter gene expression in transgenic zebrafish similar to patterns observed in transgenic mice, despite an absence of observable sequence conservation between mice and zebrafish. Multiple segments direct expression in overlapping populations of neural crest derivatives and glial cells, ranging from pan-Sox10 and pan-neural crest regulatory control to the modulation of expression in subpopulations of Sox10-expressing cells, including developing melanocytes and Schwann cells. Several sequences demonstrate overlapping spatial control, yet direct expression in incompletely overlapping developmental intervals. We were able to partially explain neural crest expression patterns by the presence of head to head SoxE family binding sites within two of the elements. Moreover, we were able to use this transcription factor binding site signature to identify the corresponding zebrafish enhancers in the absence of overall sequence homology. We demonstrate the utility of zebrafish transgenesis as a high-fidelity surrogate in the dissection of mammalian gene regulation, especially those with dynamically controlled developmental expression.

Pubmed ID: 18773071


  • Antonellis A
  • Huynh JL
  • Lee-Lin SQ
  • Vinton RM
  • Renaud G
  • Loftus SK
  • Elliot G
  • Wolfsberg TG
  • Green ED
  • McCallion AS
  • Pavan WJ


PLoS genetics

Publication Data

September 5, 2008

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: R00 NS060983
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: R00 NS060983-04
  • Agency: NIGMS NIH HHS, Id: R01 GM071648
  • Agency: NIGMS NIH HHS, Id: T32 GM007814
  • Agency: Intramural NIH HHS, Id:

Mesh Terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Binding Sites
  • Conserved Sequence
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic
  • Gene Transfer Techniques
  • Genome
  • High Mobility Group Proteins
  • Melanocytes
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Neural Crest
  • Neuroglia
  • SOXE Transcription Factors
  • Schwann Cells
  • Transcription Factors
  • Zebrafish