Znf703, a novel target of Pax3 and Zic1, regulates hindbrain and neural crest development in Xenopus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The transcription factors Pax3 and Zic1 are critical to specify the neural plate border and to promote neural crest formation. In a microarray screen designed to identify genes regulated by Pax3 and Zic1 in Xenopus we isolated Znf703/Nlz1 a transcriptional repressor member of the NET (NocA/Nlz, Elbow, and TLP-1) protein family. At early neurula stage znf703 is expressed in the dorsal ectoderm, spanning the neural plate and neural plate border, with an anterior boundary of expression corresponding to rhombomeres 3 and 4 (r3/r4) in the prospective hindbrain. As a bonafide target of Pax3 and Zic1, znf703 is activated by neural plate border inducing signals, and its expression depends on Pax3 and Zic1 function in the embryo. Znf703 morpholino-mediated knockdown expanded several posterior hindbrain genes, while Znf703 overexpression completely obliterated the expression of these segmental genes, signifying that the transcriptional repressor activity of Znf703 is critical to pattern the hindbrain. Furthermore, snai2 and sox10 expression was severely impaired upon manipulation of Znf703 expression levels in the embryo suggesting that Znf703 participates in neural crest formation downstream of Pax3 and Zic1 in Xenopus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere23082
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • Xenopus
  • hindbrain
  • neural crest
  • pax3
  • zic1
  • znf703

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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