Development of zebrafish swimbladder: The requirement of Hedgehog signaling in specification and organization of the three tissue layers

Dev Biol. 2009 Jul 15;331(2):222-36. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2009.04.035. Epub 2009 May 5.


The swimbladder is a hydrostatic organ in fish postulated as a homolog of the tetrapod lung. While lung development has been well studied, the molecular mechanism of swimbladder development is essentially uncharacterized. In the present study, swimbladder development in zebrafish was analyzed by using several molecular markers: hb9 (epithelium), fgf10a and acta2 (mesenchyme), and anxa5 (mesothelium), as well as in vivo through enhancer trap transgenic lines Et(krt4:EGFP)(sq33-2) and Et(krt4:EGFP)(sqet3) that showed strong EGFP expression in the swimbladder epithelium and outer mesothelium respectively. We defined three phases of swimbladder development: epithelial budding between 36 and 48 hpf, growth with the formation of two additional mesodermal layers up to 4.5 dpf, and inflation of posterior and anterior chambers at 4.5 and 21 dpf respectively. Similar to those in early lung development, conserved expression of Hedgehog (Hh) genes, shha and ihha, in the epithelia, and Hh receptor genes, ptc1 and ptc2, as well as fgf10a in mesenchyme was observed. By analyzing several mutants affecting Hh signaling and Ihha morphants, we demonstrated an essential role of Hh signaling in swimbladder development. Furthermore, time-specific Hh inhibition by cyclopamine revealed different requirements of Hh signaling in the formation and organization of all three tissue layers of swimbladder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Sacs / embryology*
  • Air Sacs / physiology
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Differentiation / metabolism
  • Body Patterning / physiology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Hedgehog Proteins / genetics
  • Hedgehog Proteins / physiology*
  • Mutation
  • Signal Transduction
  • Zebrafish / embryology
  • Zebrafish / physiology*
  • Zebrafish Proteins / genetics
  • Zebrafish Proteins / physiology*


  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Zebrafish Proteins