Expression of sclerostin in the developing zebrafish (Danio rerio) brain and skeleton

Melissa S. McNulty, Victoria M. Bedell, Tammy M. Greenwood, Theodore A. Craig, Stephen C. Ekker, Rajiv Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Sclerostin is a highly conserved, secreted, cystine-knot protein which regulates osteoblast function. Humans with mutations in the sclerostin gene (SOST), manifest increased axial and appendicular skeletal bone density with attendant complications. In adult bone, sclerostin is expressed in osteocytes and osteoblasts. Danio rerio sclerostin-like protein is closely related to sea bass sclerostin, and is related to chicken and mammalian sclerostins. Little is known about the expression of sclerostin in early developing skeletal or extra-skeletal tissues. We assessed sclerostin (sost) gene expression in developing zebrafish (D. rerio) embryos with whole mount is situ hybridization methods. The earliest expression of sost mRNA was noted during 12 h post-fertilization (hpf). At 15 hpf, sost mRNA was detected in the developing nervous system and in Kupffer's vesicle. At 18, 20 and 22 hpf, expression in rhombic lip precursors was seen. By 24 hpf, expression in the upper and lower rhombic lip and developing spinal cord was noted. Expression in the rhombic lip and spinal cord persisted through 28 hpf and then diminished in intensity through 44 hpf. At 28 hpf, sost expression was noted in developing pharyngeal cartilage; expression in pharyngeal cartilage increased with time. By 48 hpf, sost mRNA was clearly detected in the developing pharyngeal arch cartilage. Sost mRNA was abundantly expressed in the pharyngeal arch cartilage, and in developing pectoral fins, 72, 96 and 120 hpf. Our study is the first detailed analysis of sost gene expression in early metazoan development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-235
Number of pages8
JournalGene Expression Patterns
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Brain
  • Cartilage
  • Sclerostin
  • Skeleton
  • Sost

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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