Zebrafish lunatic fringe demarcates segmental boundaries. Academic Article uri icon


  • Cell interactions involving Notch signaling are required for the demarcation of tissue boundaries in both invertebrate and vertebrate development. Members of the Fringe gene family encode beta-1,3 N-acetyl-glucosaminyltransferases that function to refine the spatial localization of Notch-receptor signaling to tissue boundaries. In this paper we describe the isolation and characterization of the zebrafish (Danio rerio) homologue of the lunatic fringe gene (lfng). Zebrafish lfng is generally expressed in equivalent structures to those reported for the homologous chick and mouse genes. These sites include expression along the A-P axis of the neural tube, within the lateral plate mesoderm, in the presomitic mesoderm and the somites and in specific rhombomeres of the hindbrain; however, within these general expression domains species-specific differences in lfng expression exist. In mouse, Lfng is expressed in odd-numbered rhombomeres, whereas in zebrafish, expression occurs in even-numbered rhombomeres. In contrast to reports in both mouse and chicken embryos showing a kinematic cyclical expression of Lfng mRNA in the presomitic paraxial mesoderm, we find no evidence for a cyclic pattern of expression for the zebrafish lfng gene; instead, the zebrafish lfng is expressed in two static stripes within the presomitic mesoderm. Nevertheless, in zebrafish mutants affecting the correct formation of segment boundaries in the hindbrain and somites, lfng expression is aberrant or lost.

publication date

  • July 2001