Rikin, A., and Evans, T. (2010) The tbx/bHLH transcription factor mga regulates gata4 and organogenesis. Developmental dynamics : an official publication of the American Association of Anatomists. 239(2):535-547.
The mga gene encodes a unique transcription factor containing both TBOX and bHLHzip DNA-binding domains. Here we describe the structure, expression pattern, and loss-of-function phenotype for zebrafish mga. The mga gene is conserved with mammalian homologs for both DNA-binding domains. It is expressed maternally, and subsequently in the developing brain, heart, and gut, and its depletion causes morphogenetic defects in each of these organ systems. The heart and gut phenotypes are similar to those described previously for loss of gata4, and the mga morphant shows increased levels of gata4 transcripts in lateral mesoderm. Knockdown of gata4 rescues the early heart-looping defect (but not the gut defect), indicating that mga restricts the normal levels of Gata4 required for heart tube looping, while both genes are important for gut development. Transcript profiling experiments show that mga functions early to influence key regulators of mesendoderm, including tbx6, cas, and sox17.