Crucial role of zebrafish prox1 in hypothalamic catecholaminergic neurons development.BMC Dev Biol. 2008 Mar 10; 8:27.BD
Prox1, the vertebrate homolog of prospero in Drosophila melanogaster, is a divergent homeogene that regulates cell proliferation, fate determination and differentiation during vertebrate embryonic development.
Here we report that, in zebrafish, prox1 is widely expressed in several districts of the Central Nervous System (CNS). Specifically, we evidenced prox1 expression in a group of neurons, already positive for otp1, located in the hypothalamus at the level of the posterior tuberculum (PT). Prox1 knock-down determines the severe loss of hypothalamic catecholaminergic (CA) neurons, identified by tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) expression, and the synergistic prox1/otp1 overexpression induces the appearance of hypothalamic supernumerary TH-positive neurons and ectopic TH-positive cells on the yolk epitelium.
Our findings indicate that prox1 activity is crucial for the proper development of the otp1-positive hypothalamic neuronal precursors to their terminal CA phenotype.