Willett, C.E., Kawasaki, H., Amemiya, C.T., Lin, S., and Steiner, L.A. (2001) Ikaros expression as a marker for lymphoid progenitors during zebrafish development. Developmental dynamics : an official publication of the American Association of Anatomists. 222(4):694-698.
The Ikaros gene encodes a transcription factor that, in mice, has been shown to be essential for the correct differentiation of B and T lymphocytes and is expressed in all cells of the lymphoid lineage, including pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells. During development in zebrafish, Ikaros expression begins in lateral mesoderm, and continues in the intermediate cell mass (ICM), which is derived from lateral mesoderm and has been shown to generate primitive hematopoietic precursors. Cells expressing Ikaros were then seen on the ventral side of the dorsal aorta, known to be a location of definitive hematopoietic precursors in birds and mammals. Ikaros-expressing cells were also found in the pharyngeal region, near the forming thymus. Later, such cells were seen in the pronephros, the site of hematopoiesis in adult fish. The timing of appearance of Ikaros-expressing cells suggests that, similar to other vertebrates, lymphocytes in the thymus arise from hematopoietic tissue located near the dorsal aorta or in the ICM.