Germanguz, I., Lev, D., Waisman, T., Kim, C.H., and Gitelman, I. (2007) Four twist genes in zebrafish, four expression patterns. Developmental dynamics : an official publication of the American Association of Anatomists. 236(9):2615-2626.
Twist genes code for regulatory bHLH proteins essential for embryonic development and conserved across the metazoa. There are four genes that constitute the zebrafish twist family: twist1a, twist1b, twist2, orthologs of the mammalian twist1 and twist2 genes; and twist3-a gene from a new clade that does not exist in mammals. Presented here are their embryonic mRNA expression profiles. The study extends the known conservation of twist developmental patterns in tetrapods to the fish, e.g., expression in cephalic neural crest, sclerotome and lateral plate mesoderm. Some other expression domains are unique, like hypochord and dorsal aorta; some, like the notochord, may be ancestral patterns retained from protochordates; and the expression in invaginating/migrating cells may have been retained from the jellyfish. Perhaps this is one of the more ancient functions of twist-conserved from diploblasts to humans-to facilitate cell movement.