Autoregulatory loop and retinoic acid repression regulate pou2/pou5f1 gene expression in the zebrafish embryonic brain

Dev Dyn. 2008 May;237(5):1373-88. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.21539.


Zebrafish pou5f1, also known as pou2, encodes a POU-family transcription factor that is transiently expressed in the prospective midbrain and anterior hindbrain during gastrulation, governing brain development. In the present study, we found that the main regulatory elements reside in the proximal upstream DNA sequence from -2.2 to -0.12 kb (the -2.2/-0.1 region). The electrophoretic gel mobility shift assay (EMSA) revealed four functional octamer sequences that can associate with zebrafish Pou2/Pou5f1. The expression of mutated reporter constructs, as well as EMSA, suggested that these four octamer sequences operate in a cooperative manner to drive expression in the mid/hindbrain. We also identified a retinoic acid (RA)-responsive element in this proximal region, which was required to repress transcription in the posterior part of the embryo. These data provide a scheme wherein pou2/pou5f1 expression in zebrafish embryos is regulated by both an autoregulatory loop and repression by RA emanating from the posterior mesoderm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / embryology*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Mesoderm / cytology
  • Mesoderm / physiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3 / genetics
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3 / metabolism*
  • Regulatory Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Tretinoin / metabolism*
  • Zebrafish / anatomy & histology
  • Zebrafish / embryology*
  • Zebrafish / genetics
  • Zebrafish Proteins / genetics
  • Zebrafish Proteins / metabolism*


  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3
  • Pou5f3 protein, zebrafish
  • Zebrafish Proteins
  • Tretinoin