Reiter, J.F., Kikuchi, Y., and Stainier, D.Y. (2001) Multiple roles for Gata5 in zebrafish endoderm formation. Development (Cambridge, England). 128(1):125-135.
Previous studies have indicated that gata5, a zinc-finger transcription factor gene, is required for the development of the zebrafish gut tube. Here, we show that gata5 mutants also display defects in the development of other endodermal organs such as the liver, pancreas, thyroid and thymus. gata5 is expressed in the endodermal progenitors from late blastula stages, suggesting that it functions early during endoderm development. We indeed find that during gastrulation stages, gata5 mutants form fewer endodermal cells than their wild-type siblings. In addition, the endodermal cells that form in gata5 mutants appear to express lower than wild-type levels of endodermal genes such as sox17 and axial/foxA2. Conversely, overexpression of gata5 leads to expanded endodermal gene expression. These data indicate that Gata5 is involved both in the generation of endodermal cells at late blastula stages and in the maintenance of endodermal sox17 expression during gastrulation. We have also analyzed the relationship of Gata5 to other factors involved in endoderm formation. Using complementary mutant and overexpression analyses, we show that Gata5 regulates endoderm formation in cooperation with the Mix-type transcription factor Bon, that Gata5 and Bon function downstream of Nodal signaling, and that cas function is usually required for the activity of Gata5 in endoderm formation. Finally, we show that fau/gata5, bon and cas exhibit dominant genetic interactions providing additional support that they function in the same pathway. Together, these data demonstrate that Gata5 plays multiple roles in endoderm development in zebrafish, and position Gata5 relative to other regulators of endoderm formation.