Identification and characterization of two zebrafish nectin-1 genes that are differentially expressed in the developing eye and brain



Nectins are cell adhesion molecules of the immunoglobulin type that play important roles in the development of the nervous system. We have characterized two paralogous zebrafish nectin-1 genes, nectin-1a and nectin-1b, that differ in expression. Nectin-1a expression is first found in the anterior neural keel and later in the optic cup. In the retina, nectin-1a appears in the outer part and extends inwards, while nectin-1b starts in the inner part and spreads outwards. Only nectin-1a was detected in the cornea, the lens, and in the region of photoreceptor cell differentiation in the retina. Both genes were expressed in ganglion cells and inner nuclear neurons. In the brain, nectin-1a was restricted to the epiphysis and a cluster of cells in the posterior hindbrain, whereas nectin-1b was found in several brain areas. Zebrafish may, therefore, be a useful model for identifying different functions of nectin-1 in the developing eye and nervous system. Developmental Dynamics 238:43–55, 2009. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.