Cocco, A., Carolina Rönnberg, A.M., Jin, Z., André, G.I., Vossen, L.E., Bhandage, A.K., Thörnqvist, P.O., Birnir, B., Winberg, S. (2017) Characterisation of the γ-aminobutyric acid signalling system in the zebrafish (Danio rerio Hamilton) central nervous system by reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Neuroscience. 343:300-321.
In the vertebrate brain, inhibition is largely mediated by γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This neurotransmitter comprises a signaling machinery of GABAA, GABAB receptors, transporters, glutamate decarboxylases (gads) and 4-aminobutyrate aminotransferase (abat), and associated proteins. Chloride is intimately related to GABAA receptor conductance, GABA uptake, and GADs activity. The response of target neurons to GABA stimuli is shaped by chloride-cation co-transporters (CCCs), which strictly control Cl- gradient across plasma membranes. This research profiled the expression of forty genes involved in GABA signaling in the zebrafish (Danio rerio) brain, grouped brain regions and retinas. Primer pairs were developed for reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). The mRNA levels of the zebrafish GABA system share similarities with that of mammals, and confirm previous studies in non-mammalian species. Proposed GABAA receptors are α1β2γ2, α1β2δ, α2bβ3γ2, α2bβ3δ, α4β2γ2, α4β2δ, α6bβ2γ2 and α6bβ2δ. Regional brain differences were documented. Retinal hetero- or homomeric ρ-composed GABAA receptors could exist, accompanying α1βyγ2, α1βyδ, α6aβyγ2, α6aβyδ. Expression patterns of α6a and α6b were opposite, with the former being more abundant in retinas, the latter in brains. Given the stoichiometry α6wβyγz, α6a- or α6b-containing receptors likely have different regulatory mechanisms. Different gene isoforms could originate after the rounds of genome duplication during teleost evolution. This research depicts that one isoform is generally more abundantly expressed than the other. Such observations also apply to GABAB receptors, GABA transporters, GABA-related enzymes, CCCs and GABAA receptor-associated proteins, whose presence further strengthens the proof of a GABA system in zebrafish.