• Brachydanio rerio;
  • pax[b];
  • HNK-1;
  • neural development;
  • commissural interneurons


The zebrafish paired box (Pax) genes are expressed in the early neural tube and are thought to be transcription factors that regulate the differentiation of cells in the central nervous system (CNS). The protein product of one of these Pax genes, pax[b], is detectable as a nuclear antigen in all the regions of the embryo that transcribe the gene including the posterior midbrain, the nephritic primordium, the Wolffian duct, the optic stalk, and, in specific neurons, in the hindbrain and spinal cord. The timing and pattern of axonal outgrowth by the early pax[b]-positive neurons suggest that they are the commissural secondary ascending (CoSA) interneurons in the spinal cord; the primary commissural interneurons (MiD2c and MiD3c) in hindbrain rhombomeres mi2 and mi3; and a previously unclassified set of commissural interneurons that we termed the commissural caudalrhombomere ascending (CoCaA) interneurons in the caudal hindbrain. In contrast, the Mauthner interneurons do not express pax[b] early in development. Shortly after the appearance of the first pax[b]-positive interneurons, additional nuclei adjacent to the first pax[b]-positive interneurons become pax[b] positive. This pattern of expression suggests that the pax[b] protein may be involved in determining the identity of specific commissural interneurons. © 1992 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.