Hashimoto, H., Uji, S., Kurokawa, T., Washio, Y., and Suzuki, T. (2007) Flounder and fugu have a single lefty gene that covers the functions of lefty1 and lefty2 of zebrafish during L-R patterning. Gene. 387(1-2):126-132.
The lefty gene encodes a member of the TGF-beta superfamily that regulates L-R axis formation during embryogenesis via antagonistic activity against Nodal, another TGF-beta superfamily member. Both mouse and zebrafish have two lefty genes, lefty1 and lefty2. Interestingly, the expression domains of mouse and zebrafish lefty are different from one another. At present, the orthology and functional diversity of the mouse and zebrafish lefty genes are not clear. Here, we report that flounder and two fugu species, Takifugu and Tetraodon, have a single lefty gene in their genomes. In addition, we provide evidence that the mouse lefty genes were duplicated on a single chromosome but the zebrafish lefty genes arose from a whole-genome duplication that occurred early in the divergence of ray-finned fishes. These independent origins likely explain the difference in the expression domains of the mouse and zebrafish lefty gene pairs. Furthermore, we found that the duplication corresponding to the zebrafish lefty2 gene was lost from the fugu genome, suggesting that loss of lefty2 in the fugu/flounder lineage occurred after its divergence from the zebrafish lineage. During L-R patterning, the single lefty gene of flounder covers two expression domains, the left side of the dorsal diencephalon and the left LPM, which are regulated separately by lefty1 and lefty2 in zebrafish. We infer that the lefty genes of the ray-finned fishes and mammals underwent independent gene duplication events that resulted in independent regulation of lefty expression.