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The zebrafish dyrk1b gene is important for endoderm formation



Nodal-signaling is required for specification of mesoderm, endoderm, establishing left–right asymmetry, and craniofacial development. Wdr68 is a WD40-repeat domain-containing protein recently shown to be required for endothelin-1 (edn1) expression and subsequent lower jaw development. Previous reports detected the Wdr68 protein in multiprotein complexes containing mammalian members of the dual-specificity tyrosine-regulated kinase (dyrk) family. Here we describe the characterization of the zebrafish dyrk1b homolog. We report the detection of a physical interaction between Dyrk1b and Wdr68. We also found perturbations of nodal signaling in dyrk1b antisense morpholino knockdown (dyrk1b-MO) animals. Specifically, we found reduced expression of lft1 and lft2 (lft1/2) during gastrulation and a near complete loss of the later asymmetric lft1/2 expression domains. Although wdr68-MO animals did not display lft1/2 expression defects during gastrulation, they displayed a near complete loss of the later asymmetric lft1/2 expression domains. While expression of ndr1 was not substantially effected during gastrulation, ndr2 expression was moderately reduced in dyrk1b-MO animals. Analysis of additional downstream components of the nodal signaling pathway in dyrk1b-MO animals revealed modestly expanded expression of the dorsal axial mesoderm marker gsc while the pan-mesodermal marker bik was largely unaffected. The endodermal markers cas and sox17 were also moderately reduced in dyrk1b-MO animals. Notably, and similar to defects previously reported for wdr68 mutant animals, we also found reduced expression of the pharyngeal pouch marker edn1 in dyrk1b-MO animals. Taken together, these data reveal a role for dyrk1b in endoderm formation and craniofacial patterning in the zebrafish. genesis 48:20–30, 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.