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Mech Dev. 2000 Jul;95(1-2):271-4.

Vasa protein expression and localization in the zebrafish.

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Department of Experimental Zoology, Utrecht University, Padualaan 8, 3584 CH, The, Utrecht, Netherlands.


Primordial germ cell (PGC) development in the zebrafish is poorly understood. The expression of vasa RNA, the only molecular marker so far found to be expressed in fish PGCs, suggests its function in the establishment of the germline. The protein product of vasa is present throughout the life cycle in the germline of Drosophila, Caenorhabditis and Xenopus. The expression pattern of the Vasa protein in zebrafish, is still unresolved. We generated an anti-Vasa polyclonal antibody and show that it is maternally expressed initially throughout the embryo. Interestingly, from the two-cell- to the 1000-cell stage the protein is highly concentrated in two 'dots' near the center of the blastomeres and as such remains longest detectable in the animal pole blastomeres. The first distinct cell-specific expression occurs at 60% epiboly on one side of the blastoderm margin. The Vasa protein in the PGCs is organized in a subcellular granular-like conformation which is dynamic throughout development.

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