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Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2009 Jun;162(2):179-87. doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2009.03.013. Epub 2009 Mar 28.

Molecular cloning, ontogeny and tissue distribution of zebrafish (Danio rerio) prohormone convertases: pcsk1 and pcsk2.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building, NS, Canada.


Prohormone convertase subtilisin/kexin (PCSK) enzymes are a family of nine related serine proteases, found in a multitude of tissues, and responsible for the maturation of a variety of protein and peptide precursors. Pcsk1 and Pcsk2 are found within dense core secretory granules in endocrine and neuroendocrine cells and are responsible for cleaving several hormones and neuropeptide precursors. In this work, we cloned and sequenced the cDNA of pcsk1 and pcsk2 from zebrafish (Danio rerio). pcsk1 is a 2268bp ORF, whose 755 amino acid protein product is identical to that predicted from the genome sequence. pcsk2 is a 1941bp ORF, encoding a 646 amino acid peptide. Both Pcsk1 and Pcsk2 display high degrees of similarity to their counterparts in other species, including the conservation of the catalytic triad and other essential residues. The brain contained the highest expression levels of both pcsk1 (1.49+/-0.21) (displayed as ratio to EF-1a), and pcsk2 (0.23+/-0.04). Both transcripts were also detectable in the fore, mid and distal gut. pcsk1 and 2 were detectable at 4.5h post-fertilization, and while pcsk1 expression increased throughout development (0.12+/-0.01 maximum at 3 days post-fertilization), pcsk2 expression was highest at day 5 post-fertilization (0.03+/-0.01), and decreased prior. For the first time, we have identified and characterized a pcsk1 transcript in fish. We have also identified and characterized the pcsk2 transcript in zebrafish, and have assessed the tissue distribution and ontogeny of both.

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