Sun, Z., and Gitler, A.D. (2008) Discovery and characterization of three novel synuclein genes in zebrafish. Developmental dynamics : an official publication of the American Association of Anatomists. 237(9):2490-2495.
The neuronal protein alpha-synuclein has been linked to the pathogenesis of synucleinopathies, a collection of neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson's disease. alpha-Synuclein belongs to a family of synuclein genes that includes beta- and gamma-synuclein. However, despite being associated with several fatal human neurodegenerative diseases, little is known about the normal function of synucleins. Here we report the cloning and characterization of three synucleins from zebrafish, sncga, sncgb, and sncb. The sequences of these zebrafish synucleins are very similar to those of the human proteins. We used whole-mount in situ hybridization to analyze their spatial and temporal expression patterns during development. sncgb was expressed exclusively in the notochord, while sncga and sncb were expressed strongly in the nervous system. Our identification of synuclein genes in zebrafish and the characterization of their expression patterns will facilitate future experiments aimed at assessing their functions in normal physiology as well as their role in pathophysiology.