Gene knockout studies of Krüppel-like factors (KLFs) in mice have shown essential roles in organogenesis. A screen for KLF family members in zebrafish identified many KLFs. One of these, zebrafish KLF4 (zKLF4) is the homologue of neptune, a Xenopus laevis KLF. zKLF4 is expressed from approximately 80% epiboly a patch of dorsal/anterior mesendodermal cells called the pre-polster and, subsequently, in the polster and hatching gland. Here we investigate the function of zKLF4 using morpholino-based antisense oligonucleotides. Knockdown of zKLF4 resulted in complete absence of hatching gland formation, and subsequent hatching in zebrafish. In addition, there was early knockdown of expression of the pre-polster/anterior mesendoderm markers CatL, cap1, and BMP4. These results indicate zKLF4 is expressed within the pre-polster, an early mesendodermal site, and that it plays a critical role in the differentiation of these cells into hatching gland cells.
- Anterior mesendoderm
- Hatching gland