Here we examine the expression of transcription factors GATA-2 and GATA-3 during early stages of embryonic development in the central nervous system (CNS) of the mouse. GATA-2 is expressed as early as 9 dpc in the hindbrain, in ventral rhombomere 4, and transiently in ventral rhombomere 2 (r2). From 9.5 to 11.5 dpc, activation of the gene spreads to many sites of early neuronal differentiation, such as the olfactory bulbs, the pretectum, and the oculomotor nucleus in the midbrain, a thin stripe of cells lining the floor plate from the mesencephalon to the cervical spinal cord and a ventral column of cells spanning the neural tube from rostral hindbrain and including motor neuron as well as ventral interneuron precursors. GATA-3 is expressed in a pattern very similar to that of GATA-2. Distinguishing features are the lack of expression in r2 at 9 dpc and a slight delay in its activation. In addition, GATA-2 is activated in both the ventricular and the subventricular zones of the neural tube, whereas GATA-3 is restricted mainly to the subventricular zone. Expression analyses performed on GATA-2 -/- mouse embryos between E9.5 and 10.5 dpc established that: (i) the expression of GATA-3 in the developing CNS of the mouse embryo is dependent on the presence of GATA-2 and (ii) loss of GATA-2 leads to severe defects in neurogenesis, which strongly suggests that GATA-2 is involved, as in hematopoiesis, in the maintenance of the pool of ventral neuronal progenitors.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.