A murine cDNA encoding Protogenin, which belongs to the DCC/Neogenin family, was cloned in a screen performed to identify novel cDNAs regionally expressed in the neural plate. Isolation of the putative zebrafish orthologues allowed a comparative analysis of the expression patterns of Protogenin genes during embryogenesis in different vertebrate species. From mid-gastrulation to early somite stages, Protogenin expression is restricted to posterior neural plate and mesoderm, with an anterior limit at the level of the rhombencephalon in mouse, chicken, and zebrafish. During somitogenesis, the expression profiles in the three species share features in the neural tube but present also species-specific characteristics. The initiation of Protogenin expression just before somitogenesis and its maintenance in the neural tube and paraxial mesoderm during this process suggest a conserved role in axis elongation.
(c) 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.