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Genome. 2008 Mar;51(3):222-35. doi: 10.1139/G07-098.

Identification and characterization of zebrafish ocular formation genes.

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  • 1Department of Zoology and Stephenson Research and Technology Center, University of Oklahoma, 101 David L. Boren Boulevard, Norman, OK 73019, USA.


To study genes that are specifically expressed in the eyes, we employed microarray and in situ hybridization analyses to identify and characterize differentially expressed ocular genes in eyeless masterblind (mbl-/-) zebrafish (Danio rerio). Among 70 differentially expressed genes in the mbl-/- mutant identified by microarray analysis, 8 down-regulated genes were characterized, including 4 eye-specific genes, opsin 1 short-wave-sensitive 1 (opn1sw1), crystallinbetaa1b (cryba1b), crystallinbetaa2b (cryba2b), and crystallingamma M2d3 (crygm2d3); 2 eye and brain genes, ATPase, H+ transporting, lysosomal, V0 subunit c (atp6v0c) and basic leucine zipper and W2 domains 1a (bzw1a); and 2 constitutive genes, heat shock protein 8 (hspa8) and ribosomal protein L7a (rpl7a). In situ hybridization experiments confirmed down-regulation of these 8 ocular formation genes in mbl-/- zebrafish and showed their ocular and dynamic temporal expression patterns during zebrafish early development. Further, an automated literature analysis of the 70 differentially expressed genes identified a sub-network of genes with known associations, either with each other or with ocular structures or development, and shows how this study contributes to the current body of knowledge.

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