Schulte-Merker, S., Hammerschmidt, M., Beuchle, D., Cho, K.W., De Robertis, E.M., and Nüsslein-Volhard, C. (1994) Expression of zebrafish goosecoid and no tail gene products in wild-type and mutant no tail embryos. Development (Cambridge, England). 120:843-852.
goosecoid is an immediate early gene expressed at the dorsal blastoporal lip of the Xenopus gastrula. Microinjection experiments have suggested a direct role for goosecoid in organizing the dorsoventral axis of the frog embryo. Here we characterize the zebrafish homologue of goosecoid (gsc) and compare its expression to that of Brachyury or no tail (ntl), another immediate early gene required in developing mesoderm. We show that gsc exhibits two independent phases of expression: an early one in cells anterior to the presumptive notochord, but not in cells of the notochord itself, and a later one in neural crest derivatives in the larval head. Zygotic gsc transcripts are detected soon after the midblastula transition, and at the blastula stage form a gradient with a maximum at the dorsal side. Use of gsc as a dorsal marker allowed us to demonstrate that ntl expression is initially activated at the dorsal side of the blastula. At this early stage, gsc and ntl show overlapping domains of expression and are co-expressed in cells at the dorsal midline of the early gastrula. However, gsc- and ntl-expressing cells become separated in the course of gastrulation, with gsc being expressed in the axial hypoblast (prechordal plate) anterior to the ntl-expressing presumptive notochord cells. Studies with mutant embryos suggest that gsc is independent of ntl function in vivo.