A new tinman-related gene, nkx2.7, anticipates the expression of nkx2.5 and nkx2.3 in zebrafish heart and pharyngeal endoderm

Dev Biol. 1996 Dec 15;180(2):722-31. doi: 10.1006/dbio.1996.0341.


The Drosophila homeobox gene tinman and its vertebrate homologs Nkx-2.5 and Nkx-2.3 are critical determinants of cardiac development. We report here the identification of a new tinman-related gene, nkx2.7, as well as orthologs of Nkx-2.5 and Nkx-2.3 in the zebrafish. Analysis of their expression in the developing zebrafish embryo reveals that nkx2.7 transcripts are the first to appear in cardiac mesodermal and pharyngeal endodermal precursors of the anterior hypoblast, anticipating both temporally and spatially the later expression of nkx2.5 and nkx2.3 in these lineages. The preeminence of nkx2.7 in these embryonic lineages is consistent with a key role in cell fate determination, perhaps in part through the induction of nkx2.5 and nkx2.3. The findings provide the first molecular clues as to the spatial organization of endodermal and cardiac mesodermal precursors in the zebrafish hypoblast immediately following gastrulation. They suggest a coordinate role for these three tinman-related genes in the development of the heart and pharyngeal arches, and reinforce the paradigm of gene duplication and subspecialization between Drosophila and vertebrate species. The results provide a framework in which to analyze potential changes in tinman-related gene expression during abnormal zebrafish development.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Evolution
  • DNA Primers
  • Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / physiology*
  • Endoderm / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Genes, Homeobox
  • Heart / embryology*
  • Homeobox Protein Nkx-2.5
  • Homeodomain Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / chemistry
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Pharynx / embryology*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Repressor Proteins*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Trans-Activators*
  • Transcription Factors / biosynthesis*
  • Transcription Factors / chemistry
  • Xenopus Proteins*
  • Zebrafish / genetics*
  • Zebrafish Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Zebrafish Proteins / chemistry


  • DNA Primers
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Homeobox Protein Nkx-2.5
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • NKX2-5 protein, human
  • Nkx2.3 protein, zebrafish
  • Nkx2.5 protein, zebrafish
  • Nkx2.7 protein, zebrafish
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • Zebrafish Proteins
  • tin protein, Drosophila

Associated data

  • GENBANK/U66568
  • GENBANK/U66569
  • GENBANK/U66570
  • GENBANK/U66571
  • GENBANK/U66572
  • GENBANK/U66573