Amacher, S.L., Draper, B.W., Summers, B.R., and Kimmel, C.B. (2002) The zebrafish T-box genes no tail and spadetail are required for development of trunk and tail mesoderm and medial floor plate. Development 129(14): 3311-3323.
T-box genes encode transcriptional regulators that control many aspects of embryonic development. Here, we demonstrate that the mesodermally expressed zebrafish spadetail (spt)/VegT and no tail (ntl)/Brachyury T-box genes are semi-redundantly and cell-autonomously required for formation of all trunk and tail mesoderm. Despite the lack of posterior mesoderm in spt(-);ntl(-) embryos, dorsal-ventral neural tube patterning is relatively normal, with the notable exception that posterior medial floor plate is completely absent. This contrasts sharply with observations in single mutants, as mutations singly in ntl or spt enhance posterior medial floor plate development. We find that ntl function is required to repress medial floor plate and promote notochord fate in cells of the wild-type notochord domain and that spt and ntl together are required non cell-autonomously for medial floor plate formation, suggesting that an inducing signal present in wild-type mesoderm is lacking in spt(-);ntl(-) embryos.