Delot, E., Kataoka, H., Goutel, C., Yan, Y.L., Postlethwait, J., Wittbrodt, J., and Rosa, F.M. (1999) The BMP-related protein Radar: a maintenance factor for dorsal neuroectoderm cells?. Mechanisms of Development. 85(1-2):15-25.
We have previously cloned several members of the TGF-beta superfamily of growth factors in zebrafish, one of which, Radar, belongs to the Dpp-Vg1-related (DVR) subgroup, with highest homology to GDF6. The pattern of expression of Radar suggested a possible involvement in several induction steps during embryogenesis including in the dorsal neural tube, red blood cells, the dorsal fin and the retina. We have analyzed the pattern of expression of Radar in comparison with that of a marker of dorsal neural tube structures, msxC and show that Radar and msxC are expressed in similar and/or adjacent tissues throughout embryogenesis. In order to demonstrate a functional relationship between these two proteins, we have generated a full-length cDNA for Radar and shown that Radar overexpression by DNA injection maintains expression of msxC in tissues where it is normally expressed then turned off, in particular in the dorsal neurectoderm. Study of the phenotype of a mutant carrying a deletion of Radar shows a loss of identity and death of the cells of the dorsal neural tube. Taken together these results suggest that Radar could be involved in maintaining the identity of cells of the dorsal-most neural tube and of at least a subset of neural crest cells.