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Development. 2003 Apr;130(7):1339-51.

Endothelin 1-mediated regulation of pharyngeal bone development in zebrafish.

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  • 1Institute of Neuroscience, 1254 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1254, USA.


Endothelin 1 (Edn1), a secreted peptide expressed ventrally in the primordia of the zebrafish pharyngeal arches, is required for correct patterning of pharyngeal cartilage development. We have studied mutants and morpholino-injected larvae to examine the role of the Edn1 signal in patterning anterior pharyngeal arch bone development during the first week after fertilization. We observe a remarkable variety of phenotypic changes in dermal bones of the anterior arches after Edn1 reduction, including loss, size reduction and expansion, fusion and shape change. Notably, the changes that occur appear to relate to the level of residual Edn1. Mandibular arch dermal bone fusions occur with severe Edn1 loss. In the dorsal hyoid arch, the dermal opercle bone is usually absent when Edn1 is severely reduced and is usually enlarged when Edn1 is only mildly reduced, suggesting that the same signal can act both positively and negatively in controlling development of a single bone. Position also appears to influence the changes: a branchiostegal ray, a dermal hyoid bone normally ventral to the opercle, can be missing in the same arch where the opercle is enlarged. We propose that Edn1 acts as a morphogen; different levels pattern specific positions, shapes and sizes of bones along the dorso-ventral axis. Changes involving Edn1 may have occurred during actinopterygian evolution to produce the efficient gill-pumping opercular apparatus of teleosts.

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