Powell DR, Hernandez-Lagunas L, LaMonica K, Artinger KB
The neural crest comprises multipotent precursor cells that are induced at the neural plate border by a series of complex signaling and genetic interactions. Several transcription factors, termed neural crest specifiers, are necessary for early neural crest development; however, the nature of their interactions and regulation is not well understood. Here, we have established that the PR/SET domain-containing transcription factor Prdm1a is co-expressed with two essential neural crest specifiers, foxd3 and tfap2a, at the neural plate border. Through rescue experiments, chromatin immunoprecipitation and reporter assays, we have determined that Prdm1a directly binds to and transcriptionally activates enhancers for foxd3 and tfap2a and that they are functional, direct targets of Prdm1a at the neural plate border. Additionally, analysis of dominant activator and dominant repressor Prdm1a constructs suggests that Prdm1a is required both as a transcriptional activator and transcriptional repressor for neural crest development in zebrafish embryos.