Pax9 is essential for granulopoiesis but dispensable for erythropoiesis in zebrafish

Boryeong Pak, Chris E. Schmitt, Sera Oh, Jun Dae Kim, Woosoung Choi, Orjin Han, Minjung Kim, Myoung Jin Kim, Hyung Jin Ham, Shanghyeon Kim, Tae Lin Huh, Jae Il Kim, Suk Won Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Paired Box (Pax) gene family, a group of transcription regulators have been implicated in diverse physiological processes. However, their role during hematopoiesis which generate a plethora of blood cells remains largely unknown. Using a previously reported single cell transcriptomics data, we analyzed the expression of individual Pax family members in hematopoietic cells in zebrafish. We have identified that Pax9, which is an essential regulator for odontogenesis and palatogenesis, is selectively localized within a single cluster of the hematopoietic lineage. To further analyze the function of Pax9 in hematopoiesis, we generated two independent pax9 knock-out mutants using the CRISPR-Cas9 technique. We found that Pax9 appears to be an essential regulator for granulopoiesis but dispensable for erythropoiesis during development, as lack of pax9 selectively decreased the number of neutrophils with a concomitant decrease in the expression level of neutrophil markers. In addition, embryos, where pax9 was functionally disrupted by injecting morpholinos, failed to increase the number of neutrophils in response to pathogenic bacteria, suggesting that Pax9 is not only essential for developmental granulopoiesis but also emergency granulopoiesis. Due to the inability to initiate emergency granulopoiesis, innate immune responses were severely compromised in pax9 morpholino-mediated embryos, increasing their susceptibility and mortality. Taken together, our data indicate that Pax9 is essential for granulopoiesis and promotes innate immunity in zebrafish larvae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-366
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Emergency granulopoiesis
  • Innate immunity
  • Paired box
  • Zebrafish
  • pax9

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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