Xcoe2 is a recently identified HLH transcription factor of the Xenopus primary neurogenesis pathway, which is necessary downstream of Neurogenin to stabilize neuroblast determination (Dubois, L. et al., 1998. Curr. Biol. 8, 199-209). We report here the embryonic expression pattern of Zcoe2, its zebrafish homolog. As observed for Xcoe2, Zcoe2 is strongly expressed in a subset of the neurogenin1- (ngn1-) positive primary neuroblasts of the spinal cord. In the anterior neural plate, in contrast, Zcoe2 is expressed earlier and more widely than ngn1. This pattern is strongly maintained in the presumptive mesencephalon and rhombomeres 1-4 until the 2-3-somite stage. This expression of Zcoe2 in the brain anlage calls for a re-analysis in zebrafish of the functional relationship demonstrated in Xenopus between Coe2 and Neurogenin factors. At later stages, Zcoe2 is expressed in early forming neurons of the anterior brain and is a marker of the olfactory placodes.
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