A complex network of signaling pathways and transcription factors regulates vertebrate mesoderm development. Zebrafish mutants provide a powerful tool for examining the roles of individual genes in such a network. spadetail (spt) is a mutant with a lesion in tbx16, a T-box transcription factor involved in mesoderm development; the mutant phenotype includes disrupted primitive red blood cell formation as well as disrupted somitogenesis. Despite much recent progress, the downstream targets of tbx16 remain incompletely understood. The current study was carried out to test whether any of the five major signaling pathways are regulated by tbx16 during two specific stages of mesoderm development: primitive red blood cell formation in the intermediate mesoderm and somite formation in the tail paraxial mesoderm. This test was performed using Gene Set Enrichment Analysis, which identifies coordinated changes in expression among a priori sets of genes associated with biological features or processes.
Mueller, R. L., Huang, C., & Ho, R. K. (2010). Spatio-temporal regulation of Wnt and retinoic acid signaling by tbx16/spadetail during zebrafish mesoderm differentiation. BMC Genomics, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2164-11-492