The microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP) large subunit is required for the assembly and secretion of apolipoprotein B-containing lipoproteins. We have found a zebrafish mtp homologous gene coding a protein with 54% identity with human MTP large subunit with the most conserved regions distributed in the corresponding predicted alpha-helical and C- and A-sheet domains. In situ hybridizations showed that zebrafish mtp transcripts were distributed in the yolk syncytial layer during early embryogenesis and in anterior intestine and liver from 48 hr postfertilization onward. Real-time quantitative RT-PCR confirmed the developmental regulation and tissue-specificity of mtp expression. A significant pretranslational up-regulation of mtp expression was observed in the anterior intestine after feeding. The nutritional regulation of zebrafish mtp expression observed in the anterior intestine supports the notion that this protein, similar to mammalian MTP large subunit, could be a factor implicated directly or indirectly in large lipid droplets accumulation observed in the fish enterocyte after feeding.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.