Evolution and expression of D2 and D3 dopamine receptor genes in zebrafish

Wendy Boehmier, Sophie Obrecht-Pflumio, Victor Canfield, Chrisitine Thisse, Bernard Thisse, Robert Levenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


We mined the zebrafish genomic sequence database and identified contigs containing segments of several dopamine receptor genes. By using a polymerase chain reaction amplification strategy, we generated full-length cDNAs encoding a single dopamine D3 receptor and three distinct D2 receptor subtypes. Zebrafish dopamine receptor genes were mapped by using the T51 radiation hybrid panel. The D3 receptor gene (drd3) mapped to linkage group (LG) 24. The three D2 receptor genes were localized to LG 15 (drd2a), LG 16, (drd2b), and LG 5 (drd2c). With the exception of the drd2b gene, each of these map positions was syntenic with regions of human chromosomes containing orthologs of the zebrafish dopamine receptor genes. Whole-mount in situ hybridization was used to investigate expression of the D2 and D3 receptor genes. Expression of the drd3 gene was first detected at mid-somitogenesis and was particularly prominent in somites. Thereafter, the drd3 gene was expressed diffusely throughout the brain and spinal cord. The three D2 receptor genes were expressed throughout the central nervous system (CNS) in distinct but overlapping patterns. In early embryos, the drd2a gene was expressed exclusively in the epiphysis, whereas the drd2c gene was localized to the notochord. After 24 hpf, the drd2a, drd2b, and drd2c genes were differentially expressed throughout the CNS. The identification of dopamine receptor genes in zebrafish should allow us to use the power of zebrafish genetics to analyze the functional properties of this important class of neurotransmitter receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-493
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Dynamics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental Biology


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