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Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2011 Dec;160(4):474-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2011.08.002. Epub 2011 Aug 16.

Expression and regulation by thyroid hormone (TH) of zebrafish IGF-I gene and amphioxus IGFl gene with implication of the origin of TH/IGF signaling pathway.

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Institute of Evolution & Marine Biodiversity, Ocean University of China, Qingdao.


Thyroid hormone (TH)/insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling pathway has been identified in all the vertebrates, but its evolutionary origin remains elusive. In this study we examined the expression profiles in vitro as well as in vivo of the IGF-I gene of fish Danio rerio (vertebrate) and the IGF-like gene (IGFl) of amphioxus Branchiostoma japonicum (protochordate) following T(3) treatment. Our results showed that T(3) was able to enhance hepatic IGF-I/IGFl gene expression in vitro in both zebrafish and amphioxus in a dose-dependent manner. This T(3)-induced hepatic expression of IGF-I/IGFl genes in both species was significantly inhibited by the T(3)-specific inhibitor DEA, indicating the specificity of IGF-I/IGFl gene regulation by T(3). At 100nM T(3), in both the long (42h) and short (8h) time course experiments, the IGF-I/IGFl gene expression profiles following T(3) treatment in the tissue cultures of both species exhibited closely similar pattern and trend. Moreover, exposure of zebrafish and amphioxus to T(3)in vivo for 72h induced a significant increase in the expression of IGF-I/IGFl genes in both the liver and the hepatic caecum. These data together suggest that amphioxus and zebrafish both share a similar regulatory mechanism of IGF gene expression in response to T(3), providing an evidence for the presence of a vertebrate-like TH/IGF signaling pathway in the protochordate amphioxus.

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