Four twist genes in zebrafish, four expression patterns

Igal Germanguz, Dmitri Lev, Tal Waisman, Cheol Hee Kim, Inna Gitelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Twist genes code for regulatory bHLH proteins essential for embryonic development and conserved across the metazoa. There are four genes that constitute the zebrafish twist family: twist1a, twist1b, twist2 - orthologs of the mammalian twist1 and twist2 genes; and twist3 - a gene from a new clade that does not exist in mammals. Presented here are their embryonic mRNA expression profiles. The study extends the known conservation of twist developmental patterns in tetrapods to the fish, e.g., expression in cephalic neural crest, sclerotome and lateral plate mesoderm. Some other expression domains are unique, like hypochord and dorsal aorta; some, like the notochord, may be ancestral patterns retained from protochordates; and the expression in invaginating/migrating cells may have been retained from the jellyfish. Perhaps this is one of the more ancient functions of twist - conserved from diploblasts to humans - to facilitate cell movement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2615-2626
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental Dynamics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Cephalic neural crest
  • Development
  • Embryo
  • Expression
  • Gene family evolution
  • In situ
  • Limb bud
  • Limb bud cranial
  • Pattern
  • Protein
  • Zebrafish
  • mRNA
  • twist


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