Lecaudey, V., Anselme, I., Dildrop, R., Ruther, U., and Schneider-Maunoury, S. (2005) Expression of the zebrafish Iroquois genes during early nervous system formation and patterning. The Journal of comparative neurology. 492(3):289-302.
Iroquois genes are involved in many patterning processes during development. In particular, they act as prepattern genes to control proneural gene expression both in Drosophila and in vertebrates. In this paper, we have analyzed the expression during embryogenesis of the 11 zebrafish Iroquois genes, with special interest for nervous system formation and patterning. During the first 2 days of development, Iroquois genes are expressed in distinct domains in the neuroepithelium, as well as in groups of neuronal progenitors and neurons. They are also expressed at different stages of placodal development. These expression patterns are similar to the patterns of the murine irx genes and also show features specific to teleosts. For the zebrafish Iroquois gene family, we find both specific patterns and patterns conserved within a cluster, between paralogues, or in most genes of the family. Overall, these expression data suggest functions for the Iroquois family of transcription factors in neural and placodal patterning, neurogenesis, and neuronal specification.