Expression of FoxP2 during zebrafish development and in the adult brain

Int J Dev Biol. 2006;50(4):435-8. doi: 10.1387/ijdb.052065rs.


Fox (forkhead) genes encode transcription factors that play important roles in the regulation of embryonic patterning as well as in tissue specific gene expression. Mutations in the human FOXP2 gene cause abnormal speech development. Here we report the structure and expression pattern of zebrafish FoxP2. In zebrafish, this gene is first expressed at the 20-somite stage in the presumptive telencephalon. At this stage there is a significant overlap of FoxP2 expression with the expression of the emx homeobox genes. However, in contrast to emx1, FoxP2 is not expressed in the pineal gland or in the pronephric duct. After 72 hours of development, the expression of zebrafish FoxP2 becomes more complex in the brain. The developing optic tectum becomes the major area of FoxP2 expression. In the adult brain, the highest concentrations of the FoxP2 transcript can be observed in the optic tectum. In the cerebellum, only the caudal lobes show high levels of Foxp2 expression. These regions correspond to the vestibulocerebellum of mammals. Several other regions of the brain also show high levels of Foxp2 expression.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / biosynthesis
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Superior Colliculi / embryology
  • Superior Colliculi / metabolism
  • Telencephalon / embryology
  • Telencephalon / metabolism
  • Zebrafish / embryology*
  • Zebrafish / metabolism
  • Zebrafish Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Zebrafish Proteins / genetics*


  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • FoxP2 protein, zebrafish
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Zebrafish Proteins

Associated data

  • GENBANK/BQ617568
  • GENBANK/BQ783717