Gene duplication and functional divergence of the zebrafish insulin-like growth factor 1 receptors

FASEB J. 2006 Jun;20(8):1230-2. doi: 10.1096/fj.05-3882fje. Epub 2006 May 16.


Insulin-like growth factor (IGF) 1 receptor (IGF1R)-mediated signaling plays key roles in growth, development, and physiology. Recent studies have shown that there are two distinct ig f1r genes in zebrafish, termed ig f1ra and ig f1rb. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that zebrafish ig f1ra and ig f1rb resulted from a gene duplication event at the ig f1r locus and that this has led to their functional divergence. The genomic structures of zebrafish ig f1ra and ig f1rb were determined and their loci mapped. While zebrafish ig f1ra has 21 exons and is located on linkage group (LG) 18, zebrafish ig f1rb has 22 exons and mapped to LG 7. There is a strong syntenic relationship between the two zebrafish genes and the human IG F1R gene. Using a MO-based loss-of-function approach, we show that both Igf1ra and Igf1rb are required for zebrafish embryo viability and proper growth and development. Although Igf1ra and Igf1rb demonstrated a large degree of functional overlap with regard to cell differentiation in the developing eye, inner ear, heart, and muscle, they also exhibited functional distinction involving a greater requirement for Igf1rb in spontaneous muscle contractility. These findings suggest that the duplicated zebrafish ig f1r genes play largely overlapping but not identical functional roles in early development and provide novel insight into the functional evolution of the IGF1R/insulin receptor gene family.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Survival
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Ear, Inner / embryology
  • Exons
  • Eye / embryology
  • Gene Duplication*
  • Gene Targeting
  • Heart / embryology
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Introns
  • Motor Neurons / cytology
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1 / genetics
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1 / physiology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Somatomedins / genetics*
  • Somatomedins / physiology*
  • Zebrafish / embryology*
  • Zebrafish / genetics
  • Zebrafish / physiology
  • Zebrafish Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Zebrafish Proteins / genetics*
  • Zebrafish Proteins / physiology*


  • IGF1RA protein, zebrafish
  • IGF1RB protein, zebrafish
  • Somatomedins
  • Zebrafish Proteins
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1