Visualization and exploration of Tcf/Lef function using a highly responsive Wnt/β-catenin signaling-reporter transgenic zebrafish.
ABSTRACT Evolutionarily conserved Tcf/Lef transcription factors (Lef1, Tcf7, Tcf7l1, and Tcf7l2) mediate gene expression regulated by Wnt/β-catenin signaling, which has multiple roles in early embryogenesis, organogenesis, adult tissue homeostasis, and tissue regeneration. However, the spatiotemporal dynamics of Tcf/Lef activity during these events remain poorly understood. We generated stable transgenic zebrafish lines carrying a new Wnt/β-catenin signaling reporter, Tcf/Lef-miniP:dGFP. The reporter revealed the transcriptional activities of four Tcf/Lef members controlled by Wnt/β-catenin signaling, which were expressed in known Wnt/β-catenin signaling-active sites during embryogenesis, organ development and growth, and tissue regeneration. We used the transgenic lines to demonstrate the contribution of Tcf/Lef-mediated Wnt/β-catenin signaling to the development of the anterior lateral line, dorsal and secondary posterior lateral lines, and gill filaments. Thus, these reporter lines are highly useful tools for studying Tcf/Lef-mediated Wnt/β-catenin signaling-dependent processes.