ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-050818-7
kitb, a second zebrafish ortholog of mouse Kit
Mellgren, E.M., and Johnson, S.L.
The large numbers of duplicated pairs of genes in zebrafish compared to their mammalian counterparts has lead to the notion that expression of zebrafish co-orthologous pairs in some cases can together describe the expression of their mammalian counterpart. Here, we explore this notion by identification and analysis of a second zebrafish ortholog of the mammalian Kit receptor tyrosine kinase (kitb). We show that in embryos, kitb is expressed in a non-overlapping pattern to that of kita, in the anterior ventral mesoderm, Rohon-beardRohon-Beard neurons, the otic vesicle, and trigeminal ganglia. The expression pattern of kita and kitb in zebrafish together approximates that of Kit in mouse, with the exception that neither zebrafish kit gene is expressed in primordial germ cells, a site of kit expression in the mouse embryo. In addition, zebrafish kita is expressed in a site of zebrafish primitive hematopoiesis but not required for blood development, and we fail to detect kitb expression in sites of zebrafish hematopoiesis. Thus, the expression and function of zebrafish kit genes cannot be described as a simple partition of the expression and function of mouse Kit. We discuss the possibility that these unaccounted for expression domains and functions are derived from more ancestral gene duplications and partitioning instead of the relatively recent teleost teleost-specific duplication.