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J Neurosci Res. 2013 Jan;91(1):51-61. doi: 10.1002/jnr.23145. Epub 2012 Oct 22.

Identification and functional characterization of zebrafish Gas7 gene in early development.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Chang Gung University, Gueishan, Taiwan, Republic of China.


Growth arrest-specific 7 (Gas7) is preferentially expressed in the nervous system and plays an important role during neuritogenesis in mammals. However, the structure and function of Gas7 homologs have not been studied in nonmammalian vertebrates used as models. In this report, we identify a Gas7 gene in zebrafish that we termed zfGas7. The transcript of this gene was produced by canonical splicing, and its protein product contained a Fes/CIP4 homology and a coiled-coil domain. In early zebrafish embryos, RT-PCR analyses revealed that zfGas7 was initially expressed at 5.3 hr postfertilization (hpf), followed by an increase of expression at 10 hpf and further accumulation during somitogenesis at 48 hpf. Spatiotemporal analyses further showed that Gas7 mRNA was detected in the brain, somite, and posterior presomitic mesoderm regions during somitogenesis. At 36 hpf, zfGas7 mRNA was detected in the brain and somite but was later found only in neuronal clusters of the brain at 52 hpf. Gas7 knockdown with morpholino antisense oligonucleotides (Gas7MO) reduced the number of HuC-positive neurons in the trigeminal and statoacoustic ganglions and produced deformed phenotypes, such as flattening of the top of the head. Notably, the neuron reduction and deformed phenotypes observed in Gas7MO embryos were partially rescued by ectopic expression of Gas7. Because altered somitogenesis and pigmentation were also found in the morphants, the neuronal phenotypes observed likely are due to a general developmental delay of embryogenesis. These results indicate that Gas7 is expressed in neuronal cells but is not specifically required for neuronal development in vertebrates.

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