The stem cell leukemia (SCL) gene encodes a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor and is essential for embryonic angiogenesis, hematopoietic stem cell specification, and erythrocyte maturation. Here, we report the isolation and characterization of the zebrafish scl promoter. We show that a 5-kilobase (kb) genomic fragment immediately upstream of the translation start site is capable of targeting the enhanced green fluorescence protein (EGFP) expression to the anterior and posterior lateral mesoderm where the endogenous scl normally expresses. Detailed analysis of the stable transgenic fish reveals that this 5-kb upstream sequence is sufficient to direct the EGFP transcription to the brain, spinal cord, and hematopoietic-endothelial progenitors, possibly the hemangioblast, but not primitive erythrocyte, suggesting that the zebrafish scl transcription in hematopoietic-endothelial progenitors and erythrocyte is regulated by distinct cis element(s). Our study has defined the cis regulatory element(s) for zebrafish scl expression in the brain, spinal cord, and hematopoietic-endothelial progenitors and established a valuable transgenic line Tg(5'5kbscl:EGFP) for studying hematopoietic lineage development.
2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.