Zebrafish brd2a and brd2b are paralogous members of the bromodomain-ET (BET) family of transcriptional coregulators that show structural and expression divergence.

Background: Brd2 belongs to the bromodomain-extraterminal domain (BET) family of transcriptional coregulators, and functions as a pivotal histone-directed recruitment scaffold in chromatin modification complexes affecting signal-dependent transcription. Brd2 facilitates expression of genes promoting proliferation and is implicated in apoptosis and in egg maturation and meiotic competence in mammals; it is also a susceptibility gene for juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) in humans. The brd2 ortholog in Drosophila is a maternal effect, embryonic lethal gene that regulates several homeotic loci, including Ultrabithorax. Despite its importance, there are few systematic studies of Brd2 developmental expression in any organism. To help elucidate both conserved and novel gene functions, we cloned and characterized expression of brd2 cDNAs in zebrafish, a vertebrate system useful for genetic analysis of development and disease, and for study of the evolution of gene families and functional diversity in chordates. Results: We identify cDNAs representing two paralogous brd2 loci in zebrafish, brd2a on chromosome 19 and brd2b on chromosome 16. By sequence similarity, syntenic and phylogenetic analyses, we present evidence for structural divergence of brd2 after gene duplication in fishes. brd2 paralogs show potential for modular domain combinations, and exhibit distinct RNA expression patterns throughout development. RNA in situ hybridizations in oocytes and embryos implicate brd2a and brd2b as maternal effect genes involved in egg polarity and egg to embryo transition, and as zygotic genes important for development of the vertebrate nervous system and for morphogenesis and differentiation of the digestive tract. Patterns of brd2 developmental expression in zebrafish are consistent with its proposed role in Homeobox gene regulation. Conclusion: Expression profiles of zebrafish brd2 paralogs support a role in vertebrate developmental patterning and morphogenesis. Our study uncovers both maternal and zygotic contributions of brd2, the analysis of which may provide insight into the earliest events in vertebrate development, and the etiology of some forms of epilepsy, for which zebrafish is an important model. Knockdowns of brd2 paralogs in zebrafish may now test proposed function and interaction with homeotic loci in vertebrates, and help reveal the extent to which functional novelty or partitioning has occurred after gene duplication.

Main Author: DiBenedetto, Angela.
Other Authors: Guinto, Jake., Ebert, Timothy., Bee, Katharine., Schmidt, Michael., Jackman, Todd.
Language: English
Published: 2008
Online Access: http://ezproxy.villanova.edu/login?url=https://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:177339