Zebrafish crestin was identified in a screen for genes dependent on cyclops function and is a member of a family of retroelements (Rubinstein et al.  Genesis 26:86-97). We report here a detailed description of crestin mRNA expression during zebrafish embryogenesis. Crestin expression was first observed during the onset of somitogenesis in cells of the neural crest domain of the ectoderm. Crestin expression was subsequently observed in premigratory cranial and trunk neural crest cells and then in actively migrating crest cells. Cell counts of crestin-expressing premigratory trunk neural crest cells strongly suggest that crestin is expressed by all neural crest cells at this stage. Crestin expression co-localized with a battery of markers for premigratory neural crest cells, developmentally distinct neural crest-derived precursor sublineages, and overtly differentiated neural crest-derived cell types. Expression of crestin is gradually downregulated in overtly differentiated cells. Our results indicate that crestin is a specific pan-neural crest marker throughout zebrafish embryogenesis.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.