ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-160414-8
Investigation of the effects of estrogen on skeletal gene expression during zebrafish larval head development
Pashay Ahi, E., Walker, B.S., Lassiter, C.S., Jónsson, Z.O.
The development of craniofacial skeletal structures requires well-orchestrated tissue interactions controlled by distinct molecular signals. Disruptions in normal function of these molecular signals have been associated with a wide range of craniofacial malformations. A pathway mediated by estrogens is one of those molecular signals that plays role in formation of bone and cartilage including craniofacial skeletogenesis. Studies in zebrafish have shown that while higher concentrations of 17-β estradiol (E 2) cause severe craniofacial defects, treatment with lower concentrations result in subtle changes in head morphology characterized with shorter snouts and flatter faces. The molecular basis for these morphological changes, particularly the subtle skeletal effects mediated by lower E 2 concentrations, remains unexplored. In the present study we address these effects at a molecular level by quantitative expression analysis of sets of candidate genes in developing heads of zebrafish larvae treated with two different E 2 concentrations. To this end, we first validated three suitable reference genes, ppia2, rpl8 and tbp, to permit sensitive quantitative real-time PCR analysis. Next, we profiled the expression of 28 skeletogenesis-associated genes that potentially respond to estrogen signals and play role in craniofacial development. We found E 2 mediated differential expression of genes involved in extracellular matrix (ECM) remodelling, mmp2/9/13, sparc and timp2a, as well as components of skeletogenic pathways, bmp2a, erf, ptch1/2, rankl, rarab and sfrp1a. Furthermore, we identified a co-expressed network of genes, including cpn1, dnajc3, esr1, lman1, rrbp1a, ssr1 and tram1 with a stronger inductive response to a lower dose of E 2 during larval head development.