The brain morphology of vertebrates exhibits huge evolutionary diversity, but one of the shared morphological features unique to vertebrate brain is laminar organization of neurons. Because the Reelin signal plays important roles in the development of the laminar structures in mammalian brain, investigation of Reelin signal in lower vertebrates will give some insights into evolution of vertebrate brain morphogenesis. Although zebrafish homologues of Reelin, the ligand, and Dab1, a cytoplasmic component of the signaling pathway, have been reported, the Reelin receptor molecules of zebrafish are not reported yet. Here, we sought cDNA sequence of zebrafish homologue of the receptors, vldlr and apoer2, and examined their expression patterns by in situ hybridization. Developmental gene expression pattern of reelin, dab1, vldlr, and apoer2 in the central nervous system of zebrafish was compared, and their remarkable expression was detected in the developing laminar structures, such as the tectum and the cerebellum, and also non-laminated structures, such as the pallium. The Reelin receptors exhibited different spatial and temporal gene expression. These results suggest a possibility that duplication and subsequent functional diversity of Reelin receptors contributed to the morphological and functional evolution of vertebrate brain.
© 2012 The Authors. Development, Growth & Differentiation © 2012 Japanese Society of Developmental Biologists.