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BMC Genomics. 2002 Aug 21;3(1):25.

In silico and in situ characterization of the zebrafish (Danio rerio) gnrh3 (sGnRH) gene.

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Department of Biochemistry, Physiology and Nutrition, Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, PO Box 8146 Dep, N-0033 Oslo, Norway.



Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) is responsible for stimulation of gonadotropic hormone (GtH) in the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis (HPG). The regulatory mechanisms responsible for brain specificity make the promoter attractive for in silico analysis and reporter gene studies in zebrafish (Danio rerio).


We have characterized a zebrafish [Trp7, Leu8] or salmon (s) GnRH variant, gnrh3. The gene includes a 1.6 Kb upstream regulatory region and displays the conserved structure of 4 exons and 3 introns, as seen in other species. An in silico defined enhancer at -976 in the zebrafish promoter, containing adjacent binding sites for Oct-1, CREB and Sp1, was predicted in 2 mammalian and 5 teleost GnRH promoters. Reporter gene studies confirmed the importance of this enhancer for cell specific expression in zebrafish. Interestingly the promoter of human GnRH-I, known as mammalian GnRH (mGnRH), was shown capable of driving cell specific reporter gene expression in transgenic zebrafish.


The characterized zebrafish Gnrh3 decapeptide exhibits complete homology to the Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) GnRH-III variant. In silico analysis of mammalian and teleost GnRH promoters revealed a conserved enhancer possessing binding sites for Oct-1, CREB and Sp1. Transgenic and transient reporter gene expression in zebrafish larvae, confirmed the importance of the in silico defined zebrafish enhancer at -976. The capability of the human GnRH-I promoter of directing cell specific reporter gene expression in zebrafish supports orthology between GnRH-I and GnRH-III.

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