Rossi, C.C., Kaji, T., and Artinger, K.B. (2009) Transcriptional control of Rohon-Beard sensory neuron development at the neural plate border. Developmental dynamics : an official publication of the American Association of Anatomists. 238(4):931-943.
Rohon-Beard (RB) mechanosensory neurons are among the first sensory neurons to develop, and the process by which they adopt their fate is not completely understood. RBs form at the neural plate border (NPB), the junction between neural and epidermal ectoderm, and require the transcription factor prdm1a. Here, we show that prior to RB differentiation, prdm1a overlaps extensively with the epidermal marker dlx3b but shows little overlap with the neuroectodermal markers sox3 and sox19a. Birthdating analysis reveals that the majority of RBs are born during gastrulation in zebrafish, suggesting that it is during this period that RBs become specified. Expression analysis in prdm1a and neurogenin1 mutant and dlx3b/dlx4b morpholino-injected embryos suggests that prdm1a is upstream of dlx3b, dlx4b, and neurogenin1 at the NPB. mRNA for neurogenin1 or dlx3b/dlx4b can rescue the lack of RBs in prdm1a mutants. Based on these data, we suggest a preliminary gene regulatory network for RB development.