Characterization of the neuroligin gene family expression and evolution in zebrafish

Authors

  • Alberto Rissone,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Oncological Sciences, University of Torino School of Medicine, Candiolo, Italy
    2. IRCC, Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment, University of Torino School of Medicine, Candiolo, Italy
    • Department of Oncological Sciences, University of Torino, School of Medicine, 10060 Candiolo (TO), Italy
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  • Lorenzo Sangiorgio,

    1. Istituto di Tecnologie Biomediche, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Segrate, Italy
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  • Matteo Monopoli,

    1. Department of Biology, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano, Italy
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  • Monica Beltrame,

    1. Department of Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano, Italy
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  • Ileana Zucchi,

    1. Istituto di Tecnologie Biomediche, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Segrate, Italy
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  • Federico Bussolino,

    1. Department of Oncological Sciences, University of Torino School of Medicine, Candiolo, Italy
    2. IRCC, Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment, University of Torino School of Medicine, Candiolo, Italy
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    • Federico Bussolino, Marco Arese, and Franco Cotelli contributed equally to the project.

  • Marco Arese,

    1. Department of Oncological Sciences, University of Torino School of Medicine, Candiolo, Italy
    2. IRCC, Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment, University of Torino School of Medicine, Candiolo, Italy
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    • Federico Bussolino, Marco Arese, and Franco Cotelli contributed equally to the project.

  • Franco Cotelli

    1. Department of Biology, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano, Italy
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    • Federico Bussolino, Marco Arese, and Franco Cotelli contributed equally to the project.


Abstract

Neuroligins constitute a family of transmembrane proteins localized at the postsynaptic side of both excitatory and inhibitory synapses of the central nervous system. They are involved in synaptic function and maturation and recent studies have linked mutations in specific human Neuroligins to mental retardation and autism. We isolated the human Neuroligin homologs in Danio rerio. Next, we studied their gene structures and we reconstructed the evolution of the Neuroligin genes across vertebrate phyla. Using reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, we analyzed the expression and alternative splicing pattern of each gene during zebrafish embryonic development and in different adult organs. By in situ hybridization, we analyzed the temporal and spatial expression pattern during embryonic development and larval stages and we found that zebrafish Neuroligins are expressed throughout the nervous system. Globally, our results indicate that, during evolution, specific subfunctionalization events occurred within paralogous members of this gene family in zebrafish. Developmental Dynamics 239:688–702, 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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