Zebrafish narrowminded disrupts the transcription factor prdm1 and is required for neural crest and sensory neuron specification

Laura Hernandez-Lagunas, Irene F. Choi, Takao Kaji, Peter Simpson, Candice Hershey, Yi Zhou, Len Zon, Mark Mercola, Kristin Bruk Artinger

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82 Scopus citations


Specification of both neural crest cells and Rohon-Beard (RB) sensory neurons involves a complex series of interactions between the neural and non-neural ectoderm. The molecular mechanisms directing this process are not well understood. The zebrafish narrowminded (nrd) mutation is unique, since it is one of two mutations in which defects are observed in both cell populations: it leads to a complete absence of RB neurons and a reduction in neural crest cells and their derivatives. Here, we show that nrd is a mutation in prdm1, a SET/zinc-finger domain transcription factor. A Morpholino-mediated depletion of prdm1 phenocopies the nrd mutation, and conversely overexpression of prdm1 mRNA rescues the nrd RB sensory neuron and neural crest phenotype. prdm1 is expressed at the border of the neural plate within the domain where neural crest cells and RB sensory neurons form. Analysis of prdm1 function by overexpression indicates that prdm1 functions to promote the cell fate specification of both neural crest cells and RB sensory neurons, most likely as a downstream effector of the BMP signaling pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-357
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 15 2005
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
K.B.A would like to thank members of the Mercola and Zon labs, especially N. Trede and B. Paw, for technical and emotional support in regards to mapping; D. Riedel for excellent technical assistance; A. Chitnis for nrd m805 :HuC:GFP and discussions; W. Driever and L. Sonica-Kretzel for sharing data prior to publication; and T. Williams and M. Klymkowsky for critically reading the manuscript. We gratefully acknowledge the support of NIH 5 R37 DK055381-05 to L.Z., NIH RO1 HL59502 and RO1 HL67079 and American Cancer Society RPG-97-121-DDC to M.M, and NIH K22 DE14200 to K.B.A. K.B.A. is a recipient of the Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Award from the March of Dimes.


  • Blimp-1
  • Narrowminded
  • Neural crest
  • Rohon-Beard sensory neurons


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