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Dev Dyn. 2010 Nov;239(11):2806-12. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.22420.

Characterization of zebrafish intestinal smooth muscle development using a novel sm22α-b promoter.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


Smooth muscle cells provide structural support for many tissues and control essential physiological processes, such as blood pressure and gastrointestinal motility. Relatively little is known about the early stages of intestinal smooth muscle development and its relationship to the development of the enteric nervous system, which regulates intestinal motility. Here, we report an evolutionarily conserved 523 base pair regulatory element within the promoter of the zebrafish sm22α-b (transgelin1) gene that directs transgene expression in smooth muscle cells of the intestine and other tissues. Comparative genomic analysis identified a conserved motif within this element consisting of two Serum Response Factor binding sites that is also present in the promoters of many mammalian smooth muscle genes. We established a stable line expressing GFP in smooth muscle cell and used this line to describe lineage relationships among cells within different intestinal smooth muscle layers and their co-development with the enteric nervous system (ENS).

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