Liang, D., Xu, X.Z., Chin, A.J., Balasubramaniyan, N.V., Teo, M.A.L., Lam, T.J., Weinberg, E.S., and Ge, R.W. (1998) Cloning and characterization of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) from zebrafish, Danio rerio. Biochim. Biophys. Acta Gene Struct. Exp.. 1397:14-20.
We have cloned and sequenced a zebrafish (Danio rerio) Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (vegf) cDNA. It encodes a precursor protein of 188 amino acids with a putative 23 amino acids signal peptide. Sequence comparison analysis indicates that the zebrafish vegf cDNA corresponds to the human VEGF165 isoform and shows about 52% identity to human VEGF165 at the amino acid level. A 2.8 kb vegf message RNA was detected in adult zebrafish by Northern blot analysis. Expression of vegf165 is also detected by RT-PCR in adult fish and throughout the zebrafish embryonic development. Whole mount in situ hybridization of zebrafish embryos indicates strong expression in four areas of the 18-19 h post-fertilization (hpf) embryo: within the anterior central nervous system in the prospective optic stalk, in mesoderm overlapping the bilaterally located merging heart fields, in mesoderm underlying and flanking the hindbrain posterior to rhombomere 4, and in medial regions of the somites. The study of vegf function in zebrafish embryonic vascular development will contribute to our understanding of the mechanisms of vertebrate endothelial cell differentiation and vasculature formation.