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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Jun 11;99(12):8418-23. Epub 2002 May 14.

Developmental expression of functional cyclooxygenases in zebrafish.

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  • 1Center for Experimental Therapeutics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 153 Johnson Pavilion, 3620 Hamilton Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Study of the cyclooxygenases (COXs) has been limited by the role of COX-2 in murine reproduction and renal organogenesis. We sought to characterize COX expression and function in zebrafish (z). Full-length cDNAs of zCOX-1 and zCOX-2 were cloned and assigned to conserved regions of chromosomes 5 and 2, respectively. The deduced proteins are 67% homologous with their human orthologs. Prostaglandin (PG) E(2) is the predominant zCOX product detected by mass spectrometry. Pharmacological inhibitors demonstrate selectivity when directed against heterologously expressed zCOX isoforms. Zebrafish thrombocyte aggregation ex vivo and hemostasis in vivo are sensitive to inhibition of zCOX-1, but not zCOX-2. Both zCOXs were widely expressed during development, and knockdown of zCOX-1 causes growth arrest during early embryogenesis. zCOX-1 is widely evident in the embryonic vasculature, whereas zCOX-2 exhibits a more restricted pattern of expression. Both zCOX isoforms are genetically and functionally homologous to their mammalian orthologs. The zebrafish affords a tractable model system for the study of COX biology and development.

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