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Dev Dyn. 2007 Jan;236(1):295-305.

Differential expression of CaMK-II genes during early zebrafish embryogenesis.

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Department of Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA.


CaMK-II is a highly conserved Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase expressed throughout the lifespan of all vertebrates. During early development, CaMK-II regulates cell cycle progression and "non-canonical" Wnt-dependent convergent extension. In the zebrafish, Danio rerio, CaMK-II activity rises within 2 hr after fertilization. At the time of somite formation, zygotic expression from six genes (camk2a1, camk2b1, camk2g1, camk2g2, camk2d1, camk2d2) results in a second phase of increased activity. Zebrafish CaMK-II genes are 92-95% identical to their human counterparts in the non-variable regions. During the first three days of development, alternative splicing yields at least 20 splice variants, many of which are unique. Whole-mount in situ hybridization reveals that camk2g1 comprises the majority of maternal expression. All six genes are expressed strongly in ventral regions at the 18-somite stage. Later, camk2a1 is expressed in anterior somites, heart, and then forebrain. Camk2b1 is expressed in somites, mid- and forebrain, gut, retina, and pectoral fins. Camk2g1 appears strongly along the midline and then in brain, gut, and pectoral fins. Camk2g2 is expressed early in the midbrain and trunk and exhibits the earliest retinal expression. Camk2d1 is elevated early at somite boundaries, then epidermal tissue, while camk2d2 is expressed in discrete anterior locations, steadily increasing along either side of the dorsal midline and then throughout the brain, including the retina. These findings reveal a complex pattern of CaMK-II gene expression consistent with pleiotropic roles during development.

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