Schorpp, M., Leicht, M., Nold, E., Hammerschmidt, M., Haas-Assenbaum, A., Wiest, W., and Boehm, T. (2002) A zebrafish orthologue (whnb) of the mouse nude gene is expressed in the epithelial compartment of the embryonic thymic rudiment. Mechanisms of Development. 118(1-2):179-185.
The cloning and characterization of the zebrafish orthologue of the mouse nude (Whn/Foxn1) gene, whnb are reported. A previously described Whn-like gene from zebrafish, now designated as whna, is shown to be the orthologue of the mouse Foxn4 gene. The whnb gene is specifically expressed in the thymic rudiment of zebrafish embryos at day 3 after fertilization, whereas the whna gene is expressed in eye and brain structures. whnb expression is maintained in cloche mutants, where endothelial and haematopoietic cell differentiation is defective, but absent in casanova mutants where endoderm formation is impaired. In adult thymi, whnb is expressed throughout cortical and medullary areas, whereas whna expression is observed in rare cell clusters only. Our results provide the first specific marker for the epithelial compartment of the zebrafish thymus.