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PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e37593. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0037593. Epub 2012 Jun 29.

F-spondin/spon1b expression patterns in developing and adult zebrafish.

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Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.


F-spondin, an extracellular matrix protein, is an important player in embryonic morphogenesis and CNS development, but its presence and role later in life remains largely unknown. We generated a transgenic zebrafish in which GFP is expressed under the control of the F-spondin (spon1b) promoter, and used it in combination with complementary techniques to undertake a detailed characterization of the expression patterns of F-spondin in developing and adult brain and periphery. We found that F-spondin is often associated with structures forming long neuronal tracts, including retinal ganglion cells, the olfactory bulb, the habenula, and the nucleus of the medial longitudinal fasciculus (nMLF). F-spondin expression coincides with zones of adult neurogenesis and is abundant in CSF-contacting secretory neurons, especially those in the hypothalamus. Use of this new transgenic model also revealed F-spondin expression patterns in the peripheral CNS, notably in enteric neurons, and in peripheral tissues involved in active patterning or proliferation in adults, including the endoskeleton of zebrafish fins and the continuously regenerating pharyngeal teeth. Moreover, patterning of the regenerating caudal fin following fin amputation in adult zebrafish was associated with F-spondin expression in the blastema, a proliferative region critical for tissue reconstitution. Together, these findings suggest major roles for F-spondin in the CNS and periphery of the developing and adult vertebrate.

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