Identification and characterization of the zebrafish pharyngeal arch-specific enhancer for the basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor Hand2

Dev Biol. 2012 Aug 1;368(1):118-26. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2012.05.003. Epub 2012 May 14.


The development of the vertebrate jaw relies on a network of transcription factors that patterns the dorsal-ventral axis of the pharyngeal arches. Recent findings in both mouse and zebrafish illustrate that the basic-helix-loop-helix transcription factor, Hand2, is crucial in this patterning process. While Hand2 has functionally similar roles in these two species, little is known about the regulatory sequences controlling hand2 expression in zebrafish. Using bioinformatics and Tol2-mediated transgenesis, we have generated zebrafish transgenic reporter lines in which either the mouse or zebrafish arch-specific hand2 enhancer direct expression of a fluorescent reporter. We find that both the mouse and zebrafish enhancers drive early reporter expression in a hand2-specific pattern in the ventral pharyngeal arches of zebrafish embryos. These lines provide useful tools to follow ventral arch cells during vertebrate jaw development while also allowing dissection of hand2 transcriptional regulation during this process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Base Sequence
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Branchial Region / embryology
  • Branchial Region / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / cytology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / embryology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / metabolism
  • Endothelin-1 / genetics
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Luminescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Zebrafish Proteins / genetics*


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Endothelin-1
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Zebrafish Proteins
  • dlx5a protein, zebrafish
  • hand2 protein, zebrafish