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Osmoregulation is a vital function that is essential to all vertebrates. Ionocytes are epithelial cells responsible for this function and have been extensively studied in adult teleost fish gills. The euryhaline medaka (Oryzias latipes) has recently emerged as an investigative model because of its ability to acclimatize easily to water presenting various salinities. However, no studies to date have focused on the development of ionocytes in medaka embryos. We first analyzed the distribution of ionocytes in the skin and gills during development, using a specific marker of differentiated ionocytes (the Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase pump, or NKA). Strikingly, we were able to identify two ionocyte domains on the yolk surface ectoderm, that we named the Vitellin Zone (VZ) and the Lateral Zone (LZ). In zebrafish, ionocyte differentiation has been shown to be controlled by two forkhead-box genes, foxi3a and foxi3b. We cloned the medaka foxi3 ortholog which appeared to be highly similar to foxi3b. Whole-mount in situ hybridizations performed on medaka embryos revealed that Ol-foxi3 is expressed in differentiated ionocytes of the pharyngeal endoderm, the branchial arches and the yolk epidermis, as well as in epibranchial placode territories. We further focused on the expression patterns of the yolk epidermis and compared the expression of Ol-foxi3 with that of the non-neural progenitor marker p63. We evidenced that Ol-foxi3 is expressed in progenitor cells which are first of all located uniformly in the VZ and then transitorily clustered in the LZ. Taken together, these data contribute to a clearer understanding of osmoregulatory tissue ontogenesis in euryhaline fish. Copyright 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Violette Thermes, Chia-Cheng Lin, Pung-Pung Hwang. Expression of Ol-foxi3 and Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase in ionocytes during the development of euryhaline medaka (Oryzias latipes) embryos. Gene expression patterns : GEP. 2010 Jun;10(4-5):185-92

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PMID: 20388555

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