James A. Lister

Learn More
We report the isolation and identification of a new mutation affecting pigment cell fate in the zebrafish neural crest. Homozygous nacre (nac(w2)) mutants lack melanophores throughout development but have increased numbers of iridophores. The non-crest-derived retinal pigment epithelium is normal, suggesting that the mutation does not affect pigment(More)
Mutations in the zebrafish nacre/mitfa gene, expressed in all embryonic melanogenic cells, perturb only neural crest melanocytes, suggesting redundancy of mitfa with another gene in the zebrafish retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Here, we describe a second zebrafish mitf gene, mitfb, which may fulfill this role. The proteins encoded by the two zebrafish(More)
Pigment cells of the zebrafish, Danio rerio, offer an exceptionally tractable system for studying the genetic and cellular bases of cell fate decisions. In the zebrafish, neural crest cells generate three types of pigment cells during embryogenesis: yellow xanthophores, iridescent iridophores and black melanophores. In this study, we present evidence for a(More)
The transcription factor Sox10 is required for the specification, migration and survival of all nonectomesenchymal neural crest derivatives including melanophores. sox10(-/-) zebrafish lack expression of the transcription factor mitfa, which itself is required for melanophore development. We demonstrate that the zebrafish mitfa promoter has sox10 binding(More)
We describe a mechanistic model whereby Foxd3, a forkhead transcription factor, prevents neural crest-derived precursors from acquiring a melanophore fate. Foxd3 regulates this fate choice by repressing the mitfa promoter in a subset of neural crest cells. mitfa is only expressed in a Foxd3-negative subset of neural crest cells, and foxd3 mutants show an(More)
Although the human U2 and U6 snRNA genes are transcribed by different RNA polymerases (i.e., RNA polymerases II and III, respectively), their promoters are very similar in structure. Both contain a proximal sequence element (PSE) and an octamer motif-containing enhancer, and these elements are interchangeable between the two promoters. The RNA polymerase(More)
The mitfa gene encodes a zebrafish ortholog of the microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (Mitf) which, like its counterparts in other species, is absolutely required for development of neural crest melanocytes. In order to evaluate mitfa's role in different stages of melanocyte development, we have identified hypomorphic alleles of mitfa, including(More)
Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer. Expression of oncogenic BRAF or NRAS, which are frequently mutated in human melanomas, promote the formation of nevi but are not sufficient for tumorigenesis. Even with germline mutated p53, these engineered melanomas present with variable onset and pathology, implicating additional somatic mutations in a(More)
foxd3 encodes a winged helix/forkhead class transcription factor expressed in the premigratory neural crest cells of many vertebrates. We have investigated the function of this gene in zebrafish neural crest by a loss of function approach using antisense morpholino oligonucleotides and immunostaining for Foxd3 protein. Knockdown of Foxd3 expression produces(More)
The MiT family comprises four genes in mammals: Mitf, Tfe3, Tfeb, and Tfec, which encode transcription factors of the basic-helix-loop-helix/leucine zipper class. Mitf is well-known for its essential role in the development of melanocytes, however the functions of the other members of this family, and of interactions between them, are less well understood.(More)