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Keywords:

  • zebrafish;
  • bHLH;
  • atonal;
  • zic1;
  • gad;
  • transgenic;
  • octavolateral nucleus;
  • torus semicircularis;
  • lateral line

Abstract

The dorsal hindbrain includes distinct classes of neurons for processing various sensory stimuli, but the developmental aspects of these neurons remain largely unknown. We identify here two distinct classes of neurons in the dorsal hindbrain of developing zebrafish: (1) neurons that express the inhibitory neuronal marker Gad1/2, and (2) neurons that express the zn-5 antigen and Lhx2/9 and require the basic helix–loop–helix transcription factor Atoh1a for development. Neurons were traced to their axon terminals by expressing green fluorescent protein using the Gal4VP16-UAS (UAS, upstream activating sequences) system in combination with the promoter/enhancer regions of gad2 for the Gad1/2(+) neurons and zic1 for the zn-5(+)Lhx2/9(+) neurons. The Gad1/2(+) neurons projected to the contralateral hindbrain, while the zn-5(+)Lhx2/9(+) neurons projected to the contralateral midbrain torus semicircularis, suggesting a role in auditory and lateral line sensory processing. Comparison of these projections with those from the cochlear nuclei to the inferior colliculus in mammals suggests similarities across vertebrate species. Developmental Dynamics 236:706–718, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.