ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-131024-21
Functional analysis of limb enhancers in the developing fin
Booker, B.M., Murphy, K.K., and Ahituv, N.
Date: 2013
Source: Development genes and evolution   223(6): 395-399 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Ahituv, Nadav, Murphy, Karl
Keywords: enhancers, fin, limb, mesenchyme, ZPA, AER
MeSH Terms:
  • Animal Fins/embryology*
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Zebrafish/embryology*
  • Zebrafish/genetics
PubMed: 24068387 Full text @ Dev. Genes Evol.

Despite diverging <365 million years ago, tetrapod limbs and pectoral fins express similar genes that could be regulated by shared regulatory elements. In this study, we set out to analyze the ability of enhancers to maintain tissue specificity in these two divergent structures. We tested 22 human sequences that were previously reported as mouse limb enhancers for their enhancer activity in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Using a zebrafish enhancer assay, we found that 10/22 (45 %) were positive for pectoral fin activity. Analysis of the various criteria that correlated with positive fin activity found that both spatial limb activity and evolutionary conservation are not good predictors of fin enhancer activity. These results suggest that zebrafish enhancer assays may be limited in detecting human limb enhancers, and this limitation does not improve by the use of limb spatial expression or evolutionary conservation.