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Mech Dev. 2000 Jan;90(1):89-94.

Characterization of the two zebrafish orthologues of the KAL-1 gene underlying X chromosome-linked Kallmann syndrome.

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Unité de Génétique des Déficits Sensoriels, CNRS URA 1968, Institut Pasteur, 25 rue du Dr Roux, F-75724, Paris, France.


The gene underlying X chromosome-linked Kallmann syndrome, KAL-1, has been identified for several years, yet its role in development is still poorly understood. In order to take advantage of the zebrafish as a model in developmental genetics, we isolated the two KAL-1 orthologues, kal1.1 and kal1.2, in this species. Comparison of deduced protein sequences with the human one shows 75.5 and 66.5% overall homology, respectively. The most conserved domains are the whey acidic protein-like domain and the first of four fibronectin-like type III repeats. However, kal1.2 putative protein lacks the basic C-terminal domain (20 residues) found in kal1.1 and KAL-1. The expressions of kal1.1 and kal1.2 were studied in the embryo between 6 and 96 hours post fertilization using whole-mount in situ hybridization. Although a few structures express both genes, kal1.1 and kal1.2 expression patterns are largely non-overlapping. Taken together, these patterns match fairly well those previously reported for human KAL-1 and chicken kal1. As regards the olfactory system, kal1.1 is expressed, from 37 h.p.f. onward, in the presumptive olfactory bulbs, whereas kal1.2 transcript is only detected, from 48 h.p.f., in the epithelium of the nasal cavity. The relevance of the zebrafish as an animal model for studying both the function of KAL-1 in normal development and the developmental failure leading to the olfactory defect in Kallmann syndrome, is discussed.

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