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Dev Comp Immunol. 2004 Jun;28(7-8):747-54.

Organization and expression analysis of the zebrafish hepcidin gene, an antimicrobial peptide gene conserved among vertebrates.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, San Diego, CA 92093-0830, USA.


Hepcidin is an antimicrobial peptide and iron-regulatory molecule that is conserved among vertebrates. Mutations or over-expression of the human hepcidin gene have been found in patients with hemochromatosis and refractory anemia. To further understand the function and regulation of hepcidin, animal models are needed. We sequenced cDNA, genes and upstream regions of zebrafish hepcidin and analyzed gene expression by kinetic PCR. Zebrafish hepcidin genes consist of two introns and three exons that encode a prepropeptide (91 amino acids). The amino acid sequences and gene organization were remarkably conserved between zebrafish and other species. Elevated gene expression was observed in abdominal organs, skin, and heart in fish that developed signs of infection following bacterial injection. Zebrafish may be a suitable model organism for further study of hepcidin gene regulation.

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