A role for foxd3 and sox10 in the differentiation of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) cells in the zebrafish Danio rerio

Whitlock, K.E., Smith, K.M., Kim, H., and Harden, M.V.
Development (Cambridge, England)   132(24): 5491-5502 (Journal)
Registered Authors
Smith, Kalmia, Whitlock, Kate
Midbrain, GnRH2, Kallmann Syndrome, Neural crest, Morpholinos
MeSH Terms
  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins/genetics
  • Carrier Proteins/physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation/physiology*
  • Cranial Nerves/cytology
  • Cranial Nerves/embryology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian/cytology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian/physiology
  • Female
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors/genetics
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors/physiology*
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone/metabolism*
  • High Mobility Group Proteins/genetics
  • High Mobility Group Proteins/physiology*
  • Hypothalamus/cytology
  • Hypothalamus/embryology
  • Male
  • Mesencephalon/cytology*
  • Mesencephalon/embryology
  • Mutation
  • Neural Crest/cytology*
  • Neural Crest/embryology
  • SOXE Transcription Factors
  • Zebrafish/genetics
  • Zebrafish/metabolism
  • Zebrafish/physiology*
  • Zebrafish Proteins/genetics
  • Zebrafish Proteins/physiology*
16291787 Full text @ Development
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is found in a wide range of vertebrate tissues, including the nervous system. In general, GnRH has two functions: endocrine, acting as a releasing hormone; and neuromodulatory, affecting neural activity in the peripheral and central nervous system. The best understood population of GnRH cells is that of the hypothalamus, which is essential for reproduction. Less well understood are the populations of GnRH cells found in the terminal nerve and midbrain, which appear to be neuromodulatory in function. The GnRH-containing cells of the midbrain are proposed to arise from the mesencephalic region of the neural tube. Previously, we showed that neuromodulatory GnRH cells of the terminal nerve arise from cranial neural crest. To test the hypothesis that neuromodulatory GnRH cells of the midbrain also arise from neural crest, we used gene knockdown experiments in zebrafish to disrupt neural crest development. We demonstrate that decrement of the function of foxd3 and/or sox10, two genes important for the development and specification of neural crest, resulted in a reduction and/or loss of GnRH cells of the midbrain, as well as a reduction in the number of terminal nerve GnRH cells. Therefore, our data support a neural crest origin for midbrain GnRH cells. Additionally, we demonstrate that knockdown of kallmann gene function resulted in the loss of endocrine GnRH cells of the hypothalamus, but not of neuromodulatory GnRH cells of the midbrain and terminal nerve, thus providing additional evidence for separate pathways controlling the development of neuromodulatory and endocrine GnRH cells.
Genes / Markers
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Mutations / Transgenics
Human Disease / Model
Sequence Targeting Reagents
Engineered Foreign Genes