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Dev Genes Evol. 2007 Apr;217(4):299-305. Epub 2007 Feb 23.

Molecular characterization of common carp (Cyprinus carpio) Sonic Hedgehog and discovery of its maternal expression.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430072, China.


Sonic hedgehog (Shh), one of important homologous members of the hedgehog (Hh) family in vertebrates, encodes a signaling molecule that is involved in short- or long-range patterning processes during embryogenesis. In zebrafish, maternal activity of Hh was found to be contributing to the formation of primary motoneurons. However, we found that all of the known Hh members were not maternally expressed in zebrafish. In the present study, full-length cDNA of common carp (Cyprinus carpio) Shh (cShh) was gained by degenerate reverse-transcription PCR (RT-PCR) and rapid amplification of cDNA ends. Sequence comparison shows that cShh coding sequence shares 93.4% identity with zebrafish Shh coding sequence, and their corresponding protein sequences have 91.9% similarity. Comparative analysis of Shh genomic sequences and Hh protein sequences from different species revealed that the genomic structures of Hh are conserved from invertebrate to vertebrate. In contrast to zebrafish Shh, cShh transcripts were detectable from one-cell stage by RT-PCR analysis. Whole mount in situ hybridization verified the maternal expression of Shh in common carp, which is, to our knowledge, the first report of that in vertebrates, suggesting that Shh might be responsible for the maternal Hh activity in common carp.

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