[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To help understand the elusive mechanisms of zebrafish sex determination, we studied the genetic machinery regulating production and breakdown of retinoic acid (RA) during the onset of meiosis in gonadogenesis. Results uncovered unexpected mechanistic differences between zebrafish and mammals. Conserved synteny and expression analyses revealed that cyp26a1 in zebrafish and its paralog Cyp26b1 in tetrapods independently became the primary genes encoding enzymes available for gonadal RA-degradation, showing lineage-specific subfunctionalization of vertebrate genome duplication (VGD) paralogs. Experiments showed that zebrafish express aldh1a2, which encodes an RA-synthesizing enzyme, in the gonad rather than in the mesonephros as in mouse. Germ cells in bipotential gonads of all zebrafish analyzed were labeled by the early meiotic marker sycp3, suggesting that in zebrafish, the onset of meiosis is not sexually dimorphic as it is in mouse and is independent of Stra8, which is required in mouse but was lost in teleosts. Analysis of dead-end knockdown zebrafish depleted of germ cells revealed the germ cell-independent onset and maintenance of gonadal aldh1a2 and cyp26a1 expression. After meiosis initiated, somatic cell expression of cyp26a1 became sexually dimorphic: up-regulated in testes but not ovaries. Meiotic germ cells expressing the synaptonemal complex gene sycp3 occupied islands of somatic cells that lacked cyp26a1 expression, as predicted by the hypothesis that Cyp26a1 acts as a meiosis-inhibiting factor. Consistent with this hypothesis, females up-regulated cyp26a1 in oocytes that entered prophase-I meiotic arrest, and down-regulated cyp26a1 in oocytes resuming meiosis. Co-expression of cyp26a1 and the pluripotent germ cell stem cell marker pou5f1(oct4) in meiotically arrested oocytes was consistent with roles in mouse to promote germ cell survival and to prevent apoptosis, mechanisms that are central for tipping the sexual fate of gonads towards the female pathway in zebrafish.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(9):e73951. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lesions in the epithelially expressed human gene FRAS1 cause Fraser syndrome, a complex disease with variable symptoms, including facial deformities and conductive hearing loss. The developmental basis of facial defects in Fraser syndrome has not been elucidated. Here we show that zebrafish fras1 mutants exhibit defects in facial epithelia and facial skeleton. Specifically, fras1 mutants fail to generate a late-forming portion of pharyngeal pouch 1 (termed late-p1) and skeletal elements adjacent to late-p1 are disrupted. Transplantation studies indicate that fras1 acts in endoderm to ensure normal morphology of both skeleton and endoderm, consistent with well-established epithelial expression of fras1. Late-p1 formation is concurrent with facial skeletal morphogenesis, and some skeletal defects in fras1 mutants arise during late-p1 morphogenesis, indicating a temporal connection between late-p1 and skeletal morphogenesis. Furthermore, fras1 mutants often show prominent second arch skeletal fusions through space occupied by late-p1 in wild type. Whereas every fras1 mutant shows defects in late-p1 formation, skeletal defects are less penetrant and often vary in severity, even between the left and right sides of the same individual. We interpret the fluctuating asymmetry in fras1 mutant skeleton and the changes in fras1 mutant skeletal defects through time as indicators that skeletal formation is destabilized. We propose a model wherein fras1 prompts late-p1 formation and thereby stabilizes skeletal formation during zebrafish facial development. Similar mechanisms of stochastic developmental instability might also account for the high phenotypic variation observed in human FRAS1 patients.
Development 08/2012; 139(15):2804-13. · 6.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In mammals, parathyroid hormone-related peptide (PTHrP, alias PTH-like hormone (Pthlh)) acts as a paracrine hormone that regulates the patterning of cartilage, bone, teeth, pancreas, and thymus. Beyond mammals, however, little is known about the molecular genetic mechanisms by which Pthlh regulates early development. To evaluate conserved pathways of craniofacial skeletogenesis, we isolated two Pthlh co-orthologs from the zebrafish (Danio rerio) and investigated their structural, phylogenetic, and syntenic relationships, expression, and function. Results showed that pthlh duplicates originated in the teleost genome duplication. Zebrafish pthlha and pthlhb were maternally expressed and showed overlapping and distinct zygotic expression patterns during skeletal development that mirrored mammalian expression domains. To explore the regulation of duplicated pthlh genes, we studied their expression patterns in mutants and found that both sox9a and sox9b are upstream of pthlha in arch and fin bud cartilages, but only sox9b is upstream of pthlha in the pancreas. Morpholino antisense knockdown showed that pthlha regulates both sox9a and sox9b in the pharyngeal arches but not in the brain or otic vesicles and that pthlhb does not regulate either sox9 gene, which is likely related to its highly degraded nuclear localization signal. Knockdown of pthlha but not pthlhb caused runx2b overexpression in craniofacial cartilages and premature bone mineralization. We conclude that in normal cartilage development, sox9 upregulates pthlh, which downregulates runx2, and that the duplicated nature of all three of these genes in zebrafish creates a network of regulation by different co-orthologs in different tissues.
Journal of Endocrinology 07/2012; 214(3):421-35. · 4.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although the vertebrate skeleton arose in the sea 500 million years ago, our understanding of the molecular fingerprints of chondrocytes and osteoblasts may be biased because it is informed mainly by research on land animals. In fact, the molecular fingerprint of teleost osteoblasts differs in key ways from that of tetrapods, but we do not know the origin of these novel gene functions. They either arose as neofunctionalization events after the teleost genome duplication (TGD), or they represent preserved ancestral functions that pre-date the TGD. Here, we provide evolutionary perspective to the molecular fingerprints of skeletal cells and assess the role of genome duplication in generating novel gene functions. We compared the molecular fingerprints of skeletogenic cells in two ray-finned fish: zebrafish (Danio rerio)--a teleost--and the spotted gar (Lepisosteus oculatus)--a "living fossil" representative of a lineage that diverged from the teleost lineage prior to the TGD (i.e., the teleost sister group). We analyzed developing embryos for expression of the structural collagen genes col1a2, col2a1, col10a1, and col11a2 in well-formed cartilage and bone, and studied expression of skeletal regulators, including the transcription factor genes sox9 and runx2, during mesenchymal condensation.
Results provided no evidence for the evolution of novel functions among gene duplicates in zebrafish compared to the gar outgroup, but our findings shed light on the evolution of the osteoblast. Zebrafish and gar chondrocytes both expressed col10a1 as they matured, but both species' osteoblasts also expressed col10a1, which tetrapod osteoblasts do not express. This novel finding, along with sox9 and col2a1 expression in developing osteoblasts of both zebrafish and gar, demonstrates that osteoblasts of both a teleost and a basally diverging ray-fin fish express components of the supposed chondrocyte molecular fingerprint.
Our surprising finding that the "chondrogenic" transcription factor sox9 is expressed in developing osteoblasts of both zebrafish and gar can help explain the expression of chondrocyte genes in osteoblasts of ray-finned fish. More broadly, our data suggest that the molecular fingerprint of the osteoblast, which largely is constrained among land animals, was not fixed during early vertebrate evolution.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: STAT1 mediates response to interferons and regulates immunity, cell proliferation, apoptosis, and sensitivity of Fanconi Anemia cells to apoptosis after interferon signaling; the roles of STAT1 in embryos, however, are not understood. To explore embryonic functions of STAT1, we investigated stat1b, an unstudied zebrafish co-ortholog of human STAT1. Zebrafish stat1a encodes all five domains of the human STAT1-alpha splice form but, like the human STAT1-beta splice variant, stat1b lacks a complete transactivation domain; thus, two unlinked zebrafish paralogs encode protein forms translated from two splice variants of a single human gene, as expected by sub-functionalization after genome duplication. Phylogenetic and conserved synteny studies showed that stat1b and stat1a arose as duplicates in the teleost genome duplication (TGD) and clarified the evolutionary origin of STAT1, STAT2, STAT3, STAT4, STAT5A, STAT5B and STAT6 by tandem and genome duplication. RT-PCR revealed maternal expression of stat1a and stat1b. In situ hybridization detected stat1b but not stat1a expression in embryonic hematopoietic tissues. Morpholino knockdown of stat1b, but not stat1a, decreased expression of the myeloid and granulocyte markers spi and mpo and increased expression of the hematopoietic progenitor marker scl, the erythrocyte marker gata1, and hemoglobin. These results suggest that zebrafish Stat1b promotes myeloid development at the expense of erythroid development.
Mechanisms of development 09/2011; 128(7-10):442-56. · 2.83 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Differentiating cells interact with their extracellular environment over time. Chondrocytes embed themselves in a proteoglycan (PG)-rich matrix, then undergo a developmental transition, termed "maturation," when they express ihh to induce bone in the overlying tissue, the perichondrium. Here, we ask whether PGs regulate interactions between chondrocytes and perichondrium, using zebrafish mutants to reveal that cartilage PGs inhibit chondrocyte maturation, which ultimately dictates the timing of perichondral bone development. In a mutagenesis screen, we isolated a class of mutants with decreased cartilage matrix and increased perichondral bone. Positional cloning identified lesions in two genes, fam20b and xylosyltransferase1 (xylt1), both of which encode PG synthesis enzymes. Mutants failed to produce wild-type levels of chondroitin sulfate PGs, which are normally abundant in cartilage matrix, and initiated perichondral bone formation earlier than their wild-type siblings. Primary chondrocyte defects might induce the bone phenotype secondarily, because mutant chondrocytes precociously initiated maturation, showing increased and early expression of such markers as runx2b, collagen type 10a1, and ihh co-orthologs, and ihha mutation suppressed early perichondral bone in PG mutants. Ultrastructural analyses demonstrated aberrant matrix organization and also early cellular features of chondrocyte hypertrophy in mutants. Refining previous in vitro reports, which demonstrated that fam20b and xylt1 were involved in PG synthesis, our in vivo analyses reveal that these genes function in cartilage matrix production and ultimately regulate the timing of skeletal development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vertebrate Hox clusters contain protein-coding genes that regulate body axis development and microRNA (miRNA) genes whose functions are not yet well understood. We overexpressed the Hox cluster microRNA miR-196 in zebrafish embryos and found four specific, viable phenotypes: failure of pectoral fin bud initiation, deletion of the 6th pharyngeal arch, homeotic aberration and loss of rostral vertebrae, and reduced number of ribs and somites. Reciprocally, miR-196 knockdown evoked an extra pharyngeal arch, extra ribs, and extra somites, confirming endogenous roles of miR-196. miR-196 injection altered expression of hox genes and the signaling of retinoic acid through the retinoic acid receptor gene rarab. Knocking down rarab mimicked the pectoral fin phenotype of miR-196 overexpression, and reporter constructs tested in tissue culture and in embryos showed that the rarab 3'UTR is a miR-196 target for pectoral fin bud initiation. These results show that a Hox cluster microRNA modulates development of axial patterning similar to nearby protein-coding Hox genes, and acts on appendicular patterning at least in part by modulating retinoic acid signaling.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mild mutations in BRCA2 (FANCD1) cause Fanconi anemia (FA) when homozygous, while severe mutations cause common cancers including breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers when heterozygous. Here we report a zebrafish brca2 insertional mutant that shares phenotypes with human patients and identifies a novel brca2 function in oogenesis. Experiments showed that mutant embryos and mutant cells in culture experienced genome instability, as do cells in FA patients. In wild-type zebrafish, meiotic cells expressed brca2; and, unexpectedly, transcripts in oocytes localized asymmetrically to the animal pole. In juvenile brca2 mutants, oocytes failed to progress through meiosis, leading to female-to-male sex reversal. Adult mutants became sterile males due to the meiotic arrest of spermatocytes, which then died by apoptosis, followed by neoplastic proliferation of gonad somatic cells that was similar to neoplasia observed in ageing dead end (dnd)-knockdown males, which lack germ cells. The construction of animals doubly mutant for brca2 and the apoptotic gene tp53 (p53) rescued brca2-dependent sex reversal. Double mutants developed oocytes and became sterile females that produced only aberrant embryos and showed elevated risk for invasive ovarian tumors. Oocytes in double-mutant females showed normal localization of brca2 and pou5f1 transcripts to the animal pole and vasa transcripts to the vegetal pole, but had a polarized rather than symmetrical nucleus with the distribution of nucleoli and chromosomes to opposite nuclear poles; this result revealed a novel role for Brca2 in establishing or maintaining oocyte nuclear architecture. Mutating tp53 did not rescue the infertility phenotype in brca2 mutant males, suggesting that brca2 plays an essential role in zebrafish spermatogenesis. Overall, this work verified zebrafish as a model for the role of Brca2 in human disease and uncovered a novel function of Brca2 in vertebrate oocyte nuclear architecture.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) add a previously unexpected layer to the post-transcriptional regulation of protein production. Although locked nucleic acids (LNAs) reveal the distribution of mature miRNAs by in situ hybridization (ISH) experiments in zebrafish and other organisms, high cost has restricted their use. Further, LNA probes designed to recognize mature miRNAs do not distinguish expression patterns of two miRNA genes that produce the same mature miRNA sequence. Riboprobes are substantially less expensive than LNAs, but have not been used to detect miRNA gene expression because they do not bind with high affinity to the short, 22-nucleotide-long mature miRNAs. To solve these problems, we capitalized on the fact that miRNAs are initially transcribed into long primary transcripts (pri-mRNAs). We show here that conventional digoxigenin-labeled riboprobes can bind to primary miRNA transcripts in zebrafish embryos. We tested intergenic and intronic miRNAs (miR-10d, miR-21, miR-27a, miR-126a, miR-126b, miR-138, miR-140, miR-144, miR-196a1, miR-196a2, miR-196a2b [miR-196c], miR-196b, miR-196b1b [miR-196d], miR-199, miR-214, miR-200, and miR-222) in whole mounts and some of these in histological sections. Results showed that pri-miRNA ISH provides an attractive and cost-effective tool to study miRNA expression by ISH. We use this method to show that miR-126a and miR-126b are transcribed in the caudal vasculature in the pattern of their neighboring gene ci116 or host gene egfl7, respectively, and that the chondrocyte miRNA mir-140 lies downstream of Sox9 in development of the craniofacial skeleton.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: UDP-xylose synthase (Uxs1) is strongly conserved from bacteria to humans, but because no mutation has been studied in any animal, we do not understand its roles in development. Furthermore, no crystal structure has been published. Uxs1 synthesizes UDP-xylose, which initiates glycosaminoglycan attachment to a protein core during proteoglycan formation. Crystal structure and biochemical analyses revealed that an R233H substitution mutation in zebrafish uxs1 alters an arginine buried in the dimer interface, thereby destabilizing and, as enzyme assays show, inactivating the enzyme. Homozygous uxs1 mutants lack Alcian blue-positive, proteoglycan-rich extracellular matrix in cartilages of the neurocranium, pharyngeal arches, and pectoral girdle. Transcripts for uxs1 localize to skeletal domains at hatching. GFP-labeled neural crest cells revealed defective organization and morphogenesis of chondrocytes, perichondrium, and bone in uxs1 mutants. Proteoglycans were dramatically reduced and defectively localized in uxs1 mutants. Although col2a1a transcripts over-accumulated in uxs1 mutants, diminished quantities of Col2a1 protein suggested a role for proteoglycans in collagen secretion or localization. Expression of col10a1, indian hedgehog, and patched was disrupted in mutants, reflecting improper chondrocyte/perichondrium signaling. Up-regulation of sox9a, sox9b, and runx2b in mutants suggested a molecular mechanism consistent with a role for proteoglycans in regulating skeletal cell fate. Together, our data reveal time-dependent changes to gene expression in uxs1 mutants that support a signaling role for proteoglycans during at least two distinct phases of skeletal development. These investigations are the first to examine the effect of mutation on the structure and function of Uxs1 protein in any vertebrate embryos, and reveal that Uxs1 activity is essential for the production and organization of skeletal extracellular matrix, with consequent effects on cartilage, perichondral, and bone morphogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pedomorphism is the retention of ancestrally juvenile traits by adults in a descendant taxon. Despite its importance for evolutionary change, there are few examples of a molecular basis for this phenomenon. Notothenioids represent one of the best described species flocks among marine fishes, but their diversity is currently threatened by the rapidly changing Antarctic climate. Notothenioid evolutionary history is characterized by parallel radiations from a benthic ancestor to pelagic predators, which was accompanied by the appearance of several pedomorphic traits, including the reduction of skeletal mineralization that resulted in increased buoyancy.
We compared craniofacial skeletal development in two pelagic notothenioids, Chaenocephalus aceratus and Pleuragramma antarcticum, to that in a benthic species, Notothenia coriiceps, and two outgroups, the threespine stickleback and the zebrafish. Relative to these other species, pelagic notothenioids exhibited a delay in pharyngeal bone development, which was associated with discrete heterochronic shifts in skeletal gene expression that were consistent with persistence of the chondrogenic program and a delay in the osteogenic program during larval development. Morphological analysis also revealed a bias toward the development of anterior and ventral elements of the notothenioid pharyngeal skeleton relative to dorsal and posterior elements.
Our data support the hypothesis that early shifts in the relative timing of craniofacial skeletal gene expression may have had a significant impact on the adaptive radiation of Antarctic notothenioids into pelagic habitats.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fibroblast growth factors (Fgfs) encode small signaling proteins that help regulate embryo patterning. Fgfs fall into seven families, including FgfD. Nonvertebrate chordates have a single FgfD gene; mammals have three (Fgf8, Fgf17, and Fgf18); and teleosts have six (fgf8a, fgf8b, fgf17, fgf18a, fgf18b, and fgf24). What are the evolutionary processes that led to the structural duplication and functional diversification of FgfD genes during vertebrate phylogeny? To study this question, we investigated conserved syntenies, patterns of gene expression, and the distribution of conserved noncoding elements (CNEs) in FgfD genes of stickleback and zebrafish, and compared them with data from cephalochordates, urochordates, and mammals. Genomic analysis suggests that Fgf8, Fgf17, Fgf18, and Fgf24 arose in two rounds of whole genome duplication at the base of the vertebrate radiation; that fgf8 and fgf18 duplications occurred at the base of the teleost radiation; and that Fgf24 is an ohnolog that was lost in the mammalian lineage. Expression analysis suggests that ancestral subfunctions partitioned between gene duplicates and points to the evolution of novel expression domains. Analysis of CNEs, at least some of which are candidate regulatory elements, suggests that ancestral CNEs partitioned between gene duplicates. These results help explain the evolutionary pathways by which the developmentally important family of FgfD molecules arose and the deduced principles that guided FgfD evolution are likely applicable to the evolution of developmental regulation in many vertebrate multigene families.
Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B Molecular and Developmental Evolution 07/2009; 314(1):33-56. · 2.12 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The transcription factor gene Sox9 plays various roles in development, including differentiation of the skeleton, gonads, glia, and heart. Other functions of Sox9 remain enigmatic. Because Sox9 protein regulates expression of target genes, the identification of Sox9 targets should facilitate an understanding of the mechanisms of Sox9 action. To help identify Sox9 targets, we used microarray expression profiling to compare wild-type embryos to mutant embryos lacking activity for both sox9a and sox9b, the zebrafish co-orthologs of Sox9. Candidate genes were further evaluated by whole-mount in situ hybridization in wild-type and sox9 single and double mutant embryos. Results identified genes expressed in cartilage (col2a1a and col11a2), retina (calb2a, calb2b, crx, neurod, rs1, sox4a and vsx1) and pectoral fin bud (klf2b and EST AI722369) as candidate targets for Sox9. Cartilage is a well-characterized Sox9 target, which validates this strategy, whereas retina represents a novel Sox9 function. Analysis of mutant phenotypes confirmed that Sox9 helps regulate the number of Müller glia and photoreceptor cells and helps organize the neural retina. These roles in eye development were previously unrecognized and reinforce the multiple functions that Sox9 plays in vertebrate development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fanconi anemia (FA) is a genetic disease resulting in bone marrow failure, high cancer risks, and infertility, and developmental anomalies including microphthalmia, microcephaly, hypoplastic radius and thumb. Here we present cDNA sequences, genetic mapping, and genomic analyses for the four previously undescribed zebrafish FA genes (fanci, fancj, fancm, and fancn), and show that they reverted to single copy after the teleost genome duplication. We tested the hypothesis that FA genes are expressed during embryonic development in tissues that are disrupted in human patients by investigating fanc gene expression patterns. We found fanc gene maternal message, which can provide Fanc proteins to repair DNA damage encountered in rapid cleavage divisions. Zygotic expression was broad but especially strong in eyes, central nervous system and hematopoietic tissues. In the pectoral fin bud at hatching, fanc genes were expressed specifically in the apical ectodermal ridge, a signaling center for fin/limb development that may be relevant to the radius/thumb anomaly of FA patients. Hatching embryos expressed fanc genes strongly in the oral epithelium, a site of squamous cell carcinomas in FA patients. Larval and adult zebrafish expressed fanc genes in proliferative regions of the brain, which may be related to microcephaly in FA. Mature ovaries and testes expressed fanc genes in specific stages of oocyte and spermatocyte development, which may be related to DNA repair during homologous recombination in meiosis and to infertility in human patients. The intestine strongly expressed some fanc genes specifically in proliferative zones. Our results show that zebrafish has a complete complement of fanc genes in single copy and that these genes are expressed in zebrafish embryos and adults in proliferative tissues that are often affected in FA patients. These results support the notion that zebrafish offers an attractive experimental system to help unravel mechanisms relevant not only to FA, but also to breast cancer, given the involvement of fancj (brip1), fancn (palb2) and fancd1 (brca2) in both conditions.
Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis 01/2009; 668(1-2):117-32. · 3.90 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Disruption of signaling pathways such as those mediated by sonic hedgehog (Shh) or platelet-derived growth factor (Pdgf) causes craniofacial abnormalities, including cleft palate. The role that microRNAs play in modulating palatogenesis, however, is completely unknown. We show that, in zebrafish, the microRNA Mirn140 negatively regulates Pdgf signaling during palatal development, and we provide a mechanism for how disruption of Pdgf signaling causes palatal clefting. The pdgf receptor alpha (pdgfra) 3' UTR contained a Mirn140 binding site functioning in the negative regulation of Pdgfra protein levels in vivo. pdgfra mutants and Mirn140-injected embryos shared a range of facial defects, including clefting of the crest-derived cartilages that develop in the roof of the larval mouth. Concomitantly, the oral ectoderm beneath where these cartilages develop lost pitx2 and shha expression. Mirn140 modulated Pdgf-mediated attraction of cranial neural crest cells to the oral ectoderm, where crest-derived signals were necessary for oral ectodermal gene expression. Mirn140 loss of function elevated Pdgfra protein levels, altered palatal shape and caused neural crest cells to accumulate around the optic stalk, a source of the ligand Pdgfaa. These results suggest that the conserved regulatory interactions of mirn140 and pdgfra define an ancient mechanism of palatogenesis, and they provide candidate genes for cleft palate.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fibroblast growth factors play critical roles in many aspects of embryo patterning that are conserved across broad phylogenetic distances. To help understand the evolution of fibroblast growth factor functions, we identified members of the Fgf8/17/18-subfamily in the three-spine stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus, and investigated their evolutionary relationships and expression patterns. We found that fgf17b is the ortholog of tetrapod Fgf17, whereas the teleost genes called fgf8 and fgf17a are duplicates of the tetrapod gene Fgf8, and thus should be called fgf8a and fgf8b. Phylogenetic analysis supports the view that the Fgf8/17/18-subfamily expanded during the ray-fin fish genome duplication. In situ hybridization experiments showed that stickleback fgf8 duplicates exhibited common and unique expression patterns, indicating that tissue specialization followed the gene duplication event. Moreover, direct comparison of stickleback and zebrafish embryonic expression patterns of fgf8 co-orthologs suggested lineage-specific independent subfunction partitioning and the acquisition or the loss of ortholog functions. In tetrapods, Fgf8 plays an important role in the apical ectodermal ridge of the developing pectoral appendage. Surprisingly, differences in the expression of fgf8a in the apical ectodermal ridge of the pectoral fin bud in zebrafish and stickleback, coupled with the role of fgf16 and fgf24 in teleost pectoral appendage show that different Fgf genes may play similar roles in limb development in various vertebrates.
Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B Molecular and Developmental Evolution 01/2008; 308(6):730-43. · 2.12 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We constructed a restriction site associated DNA (RAD) marker microarray to facilitate rapid genetic mapping of zebrafish mutations. Using these microarrays with a bulk segregant approach, we localized previously unmapped mutations to genomic regions just a few centiMorgans in length. Furthermore, we developed an approach to assay individual RAD markers in pooled populations and refined one region. The RAD approach is highly effective for genetic mapping in zebrafish and is an attractive option for mapping in other organisms.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The antero-posterior (AP) and dorso-ventral (DV) patterning of the neural tube is controlled in part by HOX and PAX transcription factors, respectively. We have reported on a neural enhancer of Hoxd4 that directs expression in the CNS with the correct anterior border in the hindbrain. Comparison to the orthologous enhancer of zebrafish revealed seven conserved footprints including an obligatory retinoic acid response element (RARE), and adjacent sites D, E and F. Whereas enhancer function in the embryonic CNS is destroyed by separation of the RARE from sites D-E-F by a half turn of DNA, it is rescued by one full turn, suggesting stereospecific constraints between DNA-bound retinoid receptors and the factor(s) recognizing sites D-E-F. Alterations in the DV trajectory of the Hoxd4 anterior expression border following mutation of site D or E implicated transcriptional regulators active across the DV axis. We show that PAX6 specifically binds sites D and E in vitro, and use chromatin immunoprecipitation to demonstrate recruitment of PAX6 to the Hoxd4 neural enhancer in mouse embryos. Hoxd4 expression throughout the CNS is reduced in Pax6 mutant Sey(Neu) animals on embryonic day 8. Additionally, stage-matched zebrafish embryos having decreased pax6a and/or pax6b activity display malformed rhombomere boundaries and an anteriorized hoxd4a expression border. These results reveal an evolutionarily conserved role for Pax6 in AP-restricted expression of vertebrate Hoxd4 orthologs.