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ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-130903-28
The role of Zic transcription factors in regulating hindbrain retinoic acid signaling
Drummond, D.L., Cheng, C.S., Selland, L.G., Hocking, J.C., Prichard, L.B., and Waskiewicz, A.J.
Date: 2013
Source: BMC Developmental Biology 13: 31 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Hocking, Jennifer, Waskiewicz, Andrew
Keywords: none
MeSH Terms:
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System/genetics
  • Humans
  • Neurons/metabolism
  • Retinal Dehydrogenase/genetics
  • Rhombencephalon/metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Transcription Factors/metabolism*
  • Tretinoin/metabolism*
  • Vagus Nerve/cytology
  • Vagus Nerve/metabolism
PubMed: 23937294 Full text @ BMC Dev. Biol.


The reiterated architecture of cranial motor neurons aligns with the segmented structure of the embryonic vertebrate hindbrain. Anterior-posterior identity of cranial motor neurons depends, in part, on retinoic acid signaling levels. The early vertebrate embryo maintains a balance between retinoic acid synthetic and degradative zones on the basis of reciprocal expression domains of the retinoic acid synthesis gene aldhehyde dehydrogenase 1a2 (aldh1a2) posteriorly and the oxidative gene cytochrome p450 type 26a1 (cyp26a1) in the forebrain, midbrain, and anterior hindbrain.


This manuscript investigates the role of zinc finger of the cerebellum (zic) transcription factors in regulating levels of retinoic acid and differentiation of cranial motor neurons. Depletion of zebrafish Zic2a and Zic2b results in a strong downregulation of aldh1a2 expression and a concomitant reduction in activity of a retinoid-dependent transgene. The vagal motor neuron phenotype caused by loss of Zic2a/2b mimics a depletion of Aldh1a2 and is rescued by exogenously supplied retinoic acid.


Zic transcription factors function in patterning hindbrain motor neurons through their regulation of embryonic retinoic acid signaling.