Dam, T.M., Kim, H.T., Moon, H.Y., Hwang, K.S., Jeong, Y.M., You, K.H., Lee, J.S., and Kim, C.H. (2011) Neuron-specific expression of Scratch genes during early zebrafish development. Molecules and cells. 31(5):471-475.
Scratch (scrt) genes are neural-specific in mammals, but their homologues have not been well studied in nonmammalian vertebrates. In this report, we isolated three zebrafish scrt genes, scratch1a (scrt1a), scratch1b (scrt1b), and scratch2 (scrt2), which belong to the Snail super-family of zinc finger transcription factors. Spatiotemporal expression analysis revealed that scrt1a and scrt2 were initially detected in the central nervous system (CNS) during early somitogenesis while scrt1b was first detectable in neuronal clusters in the brain during late somitogenesis. Interestingly, scrt-expressing cells largely overlapped with huC-positive differentiating neurons and partially with neurogenin1-positive neuronal precursor cells. In addition, scrt-expressing cells were dramatically increased in mind bomb, a neurogenic mutant. Taken together, these results suggest that each zebrafish scrt gene is specifically expressed in neuronal cells and may be involved in differentiation of distinct neuronal populations in the vertebrate nervous system.