Kelly, G.M., Greenstein, P., Erezyilmaz, D.F., and Moon, R.T. (1995) Zebrafish wnt8 and wnt8b share a common activity but are involved in distinct developmental pathways. Development (Cambridge, England). 121:1787-1799.
The specification of the vertebrate body plan is dependent on numerous signaling molecules, including members of the Wnt family. We have identified two zebrafish wnt8 paralogs related to Xwnt-8B and Xwnt-8, respectively. A RT-PCR assay demonstrated that wnt8 is expressed maternally, with transcripts detected throughout embryogenesis, whereas wnt8b transcripts were first detected during late gastrulation. The wnt8 transcripts at 50% epiboly are spatially restricted to those cells at the blastoderm margin, overlying gsc-expressing cells in the axial hypoblast. During late gastrulation, wnt8 was no longer detected in the marginal cells at the dorsal midline and by mid-segmentation, transcripts were found in the presumptive tail bud. In contrast, wnt8b expression is spatially restricted to prospective neuroepithelium, and later to neural-specific structures. Overexpression of both wnts results in two major phenotypes: radialized embryos and embryos with anterior defects. These phenotypes were preceded by significant changes in the spatial expression patterns of gsc and ntl transcripts, reminiscent of activities of Xwnt-8 in Xenopus, and consistent with a role for wnt8 in the specification or patterning of mesoderm.