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Eugenin von Bernhardi, Jaime; Biechl, Daniela; Miek, Laura; Herget, Ulrich; Ryu, Soojin and Wullimann, Mario F. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9292-2851 (2022): A versatile transcription factor: Multiple roles of orthopedia a (otpa) beyond its restricted localization in dopaminergic systems of developing and adult zebrafish (Danio rerio) brains. In: Journal of Comparative Neurology, Vol. 530, No. 14: pp. 2537-2561 [PDF, 20MB]


Many transcription factors boost neural development and differentiation in specific directions and serve for identifying similar or homologous structures across species. The expression of Orthopedia (Otp) is critical for the development of certain cell groups along the vertebrate neuraxis, for example, the medial amygdala or hypothalamic neurosecretory neurons. Therefore, the primary focus of the present study is the distribution of Orthopedia a (Otpa) in the larval and adult zebrafish (Danio rerio) brain. Since Otpa is also critical for the development of zebrafish basal diencephalic dopaminergic cells, colocalization of Otpa with the catecholamine synthesizing enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) is studied. Cellular colocalization of Otpa and dopamine is only seen in magnocellular neurons of the periventricular posterior tubercular nucleus and in the posterior tuberal nucleus. Otpa-positive cells occur in many additional structures along the zebrafish neuraxis, from the secondary prosencephalon down to the hindbrain. Furthermore, Otpa expression is studied in shh-GFP and islet1-GFP transgenic zebrafish. Otpa-positive cells only express shh in dopaminergic magnocellular periventricular posterior tubercular cells, and only colocalize with islet1-GFP in the ventral zone and prerecess caudal periventricular hypothalamic zone and the perilemniscal nucleus. The scarcity of cellular colocalization of Otpa in islet1-GFP cells indicates that the Shh-islet1 neurogenetic pathway is not active in most Otpa-expressing domains. Our analysis reveals detailed correspondences between mouse and zebrafish forebrain territories including the zebrafish intermediate nucleus of the ventral telencephalon and the mouse medial amygdala. The zebrafish preoptic Otpa-positive domain represents the neuropeptidergic supraopto-paraventricular region of all tetrapods. Otpa domains in the zebrafish basal plate hypothalamus suggest that the ventral periventricular hypothalamic zone corresponds to the otp-expressing basal hypothalamic tuberal field in the mouse. Furthermore, the mouse otp domain in the mammillary hypothalamus compares partly to our Otpa-positive domain in the prerecess caudal periventricular hypothalamic zone (Hc-a).

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