Spatial and temporal expression patterns of chitinase genes in developing zebrafish embryos

Gene Expr Patterns. 2014 Mar;14(2):69-77. doi: 10.1016/j.gep.2014.01.001. Epub 2014 Jan 11.


Chitinases and chitinase like proteins play an important role in mammalian immunity and functions in early zebrafish development have been suggested. Here we report identification of six zebrafish chitinases and chitinase like proteins (called CHIA.1-6) belonging to the glycoside hydrolase family 18, and determine their spatial and temporal expression at 10 stages of zebrafish development. CHIA.4 is highly maternally expressed and it is expressed 100 fold above any other CHIA gene at zygote through to blastula stage. Later, after the maternal to zygotic transition, CHIA.4 expression decreases to the same level as CHIA.5 and CHIA.6. Subsequently, CHIA.1, CHIA.2, CHIA.3 and CHIA.4, CHIA.5, CHIA.6 each follow distinct paths in terms of expression levels. Until 4 days post fertilization the spatial expression patterns of all six CHIA genes overlap extensively, with expression detected predominantly in vascular, ocular and intestinal tissues. At 5 days post fertilization CHIA.1, CHIA.2 and CHIA.3 are expressed almost exclusively in the stomach, whereas CHIA.4, CHIA.5 and CHIA.6 are also prominently expressed in the liver. These different expression patterns may contribute to the establishment of a basis on which functional analysis in older larvae may be founded.

Keywords: Chitinase; Chitinase like protein; GH18; Immunity; Zebrafish embryonic development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing
  • Animals
  • Chitinases / genetics*
  • Embryo, Mammalian / metabolism*
  • Embryonic Development / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Gene Order
  • Multigene Family
  • Zebrafish / embryology
  • Zebrafish / genetics*


  • Chitinases