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Keywords:

  • zebrafish embryos;
  • cell adhesion molecules;
  • development;
  • pectoral fins

Abstract

Cadherins are cell adhesion molecules that play important roles in development of a variety of organs, including the vertebrate limb. In this study, we analyze cadherin expression patterns in the embryonic zebrafish pectoral limb buds and larval pectoral fins by using both in situ hybridization and immunocytochemical methods. cadherin-1 is detected in the epidermis of the embryonic limb buds and the larval pectoral fins. Cadherin-2 is expressed in the pectoral limb bud mesenchyme and chondrogenic condensation. As development proceeds, cadherin-2 expression is detected in newly differentiated pectoral fin endoskeleton, but its expression is greatly down-regulated in the fin endoskeleton of larval zebrafish. cadherin-11 is found in the basal region of the embryonic limb buds and in the proximal endoskeleton of the larval pectoral fins. Interfering with cadherin-2 function using two specific antisense morpholino oligonucleotides disrupts formation of the chondrogenic condensation/endoskeleton, suggesting that cadherin-2 is crucial for the normal development of the zebrafish pectoral fins. Developmental Dynamics 228:734–739, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.