Intestinal development in amniotes is driven by interactions between progenitor cells derived from the three primary germ layers. Genetic analyses and gene targeting experiments in zebrafish offer a novel approach to dissect such interactions at a molecular level. Here we show that intestinal anatomy and architecture in zebrafish closely resembles the anatomy and architecture of the mammalian small intestine. The zebrafish intestine is regionalized and the various segments can be identified by epithelial markers whose expression is already segregated at the onset of intestinal differentiation. Differentiation of cells derived from the three primary germ layers begins more or less contemporaneously, and is preceded by a stage in which there is rapid cell proliferation and maturation of epithelial cell polarization. Analysis of zebrafish mutants with altered epithelial survival reveals that seemingly related single gene defects have different effects on epithelial differentiation and smooth muscle and enteric nervous system development.
Zebrafish are a valuable model for mammalian lipid metabolism; larvae process lipids similarly through the intestine and hepatobiliary system and respond to drugs that block cholesterol synthesis in humans. After ingestion of fluorescently quenched phospholipids, endogenous lipase activity and rapid transport of cleavage products results in intense gall bladder fluorescence. Genetic screening identifies zebrafish mutants, such as fat free, that show normal digestive organ morphology but severely reduced phospholipid and cholesterol processing. Thus, fluorescent lipids provide a sensitive readout of lipid metabolism and are a powerful tool for identifying genes that mediate vertebrate digestive physiology.
Although the development of the digestive system of humans and vertebrate model organisms has been well characterized, relatively little is known about how the zebrafish digestive system forms. We define developmental milestones during organogenesis of the zebrafish digestive tract, liver, and pancreas and identify important differences in the way the digestive endoderm of zebrafish and amniotes is organized. Such differences account for the finding that the zebrafish digestive system is assembled from individual organ anlagen, whereas the digestive anlagen of amniotes arise from a primitive gut tube. Despite differences of organ morphogenesis, conserved molecular programs regulate pharynx, esophagus, liver, and pancreas development in teleosts and mammals. Specifically, we show that zebrafish faust/gata-5 is a functional ortholog of gata-4, a gene that is essential for the formation of the mammalian and avian foregut. Further, extraembryonic gata activity is required for this function in zebrafish as has been shown in other vertebrates. We also show that a loss-of-function mutation that perturbs sonic hedgehog causes defects in the development of the esophagus that parallel those associated with targeted disruption of this gene in mammals. Perturbation of sonic hedgehog also affects zebrafish liver and pancreas development, and these effects occur in a reciprocal fashion, as has been described during mammalian liver and ventral pancreas development. Together, these data define aspects of digestive system development necessary for the characterization of zebrafish mutants. Given the similarities of teleost and mammalian digestive physiology and anatomy, these findings have implications for developmental and evolutionary studies as well as research of human diseases, such as diabetes, liver cirrhosis, and cancer.
The Alagille Syndrome (AGS) is a heritable disorder affecting the liver and other organs. Causative dominant mutations in human Jagged 1 have been identified in most AGS patients. Related organ defects occur in mice that carry jagged 1 and notch 2 mutations. Multiple jagged and notch genes are expressed in the developing zebrafish liver. Compound jagged and notch gene knockdowns alter zebrafish biliary, kidney, pancreatic, cardiac and craniofacial development in a manner compatible with an AGS phenocopy. These data confirm an evolutionarily conserved role for Notch signaling in vertebrate liver development, and support the zebrafish as a model system for diseases of the human biliary system.
Cerebral cavernous malformation is a common human vascular disease that arises due to loss-of-function mutations in genes encoding
We studied the effects of increasing dietary concentrations of each of the following amino acids on growth, feed intake, feed conversion ratio and composition of gain in rainbow trout in six dose-response experiments: L-lysine, L-tryptophan, L-histidine, L-valine, L-leucine and L-isoleucine. Semipurified diets containing 20.1 MJ digestible energy/kg dry matter, with wheat gluten and crystalline amino acids as sole sources of amino acids, were fed to rainbow trout [initial mean body weight (BW) 40-51 g, depending on the amino acid studied]. In one series of 24 diets, lysine concentration ranged from 4.5 to 58.0 g/kg dry matter; in five further series of 12 diets each, concentrations ranged from (in g/kg dry matter): tryptophan, 1.3 to 5.6; histidine, 2.6 to 13.5; valine, 6.2 to 34.2; leucine, 10.0 to 42.0 and isoleucine, 5.0 to 15.3. Each diet was fed to a group of 20 fish for 53-64 d, depending on the amino acid studied. Dry matter intake, weight gain, feed conversion ratio, protein concentration of gain and total protein deposition followed exponential response functions. To achieve 95% of the maximum protein deposition, dietary concentrations of 27.7 g lysine, 2.0 g tryptophan, 5.8 g histidine, 15.7 g valine, 13.6 g leucine and 13.7 g isoleucine/kg dry matter were required. Maintenance requirements, estimated from exponential functions for protein deposition, were [in mg/(100 g BW.d)]: lysine, 1.93; tryptophan, 1.05; histidine, 1.07; valine, 2.92; leucine, 8.26 and isoleucine, 0.91. This corresponds to 4% of the requirement for protein deposition for lysine and isoleucine but 32% for leucine, with the other amino acids being intermediate. Therefore, different dietary amino acid requirement patterns were derived from protein deposition data depending on the chosen level of performance.
Notch signaling regulates cell fate decisions in a variety of adult and embryonic tissues, and represents a characteristic feature of exocrine pancreatic cancer. In developing mouse pancreas, targeted inactivation of Notch pathway components has defined a role for Notch in regulating early endocrine differentiation, but has been less informative with respect to a possible role for Notch in regulating subsequent exocrine differentiation events. Here, we show that activated Notch and Notch target genes actively repress completion of an acinar cell differentiation program in developing mouse and zebrafish pancreas. In developing mouse pancreas, the Notch target gene Hes1 is co-expressed with Ptf1-P48 in exocrine precursor cells, but not in differentiated amylase-positive acinar cells. Using lentiviral delivery systems to induce ectopic Notch pathway activation in explant cultures of E10.5 mouse dorsal pancreatic buds, we found that both Hes1 and Notch1-IC repress acinar cell differentiation, but not Ptf1-P48 expression, in a cell-autonomous manner. Ectopic Notch activation also delays acinar cell differentiation in developing zebrafish pancreas. Further evidence of a role for endogenous Notch in regulating exocrine pancreatic differentiation was provided by examination of zebrafish embryos with homozygous mindbomb mutations, in which Notch signaling is disrupted. mindbomb-deficient embryos display accelerated differentiation of exocrine pancreas relative to wild-type clutchmate controls. A similar phenotype was induced by expression of a dominant-negative Suppressor of Hairless [Su(H)] construct, confirming that Notch actively represses acinar cell differentiation during zebrafish pancreatic development. Using transient transfection assays involving a Ptf1-responsive reporter gene, we further demonstrate that Notch and Notch/Su(H) target genes directly inhibit Ptf1 activity, independent of changes in expression of Ptf1 component proteins. These results define a normal inhibitory role for Notch in the regulation of exocrine pancreatic differentiation.
Digestibility of diets based on corn and soybean meal or soybeans treated by roasting or extrusion, with or without an enzyme supplementation, was measured by "true" (Sibbald) methods, by analysis of excreta, and by analysis of ileal digesta. Only analysis of ileal digesta was able to consistently measure differences between soybean and enzyme treatments in the digestibility of CP, starch, fat, and ME. The amino acid (AA) digestibility of the diets was measured by analysis of the ileal contents. Whereas enzyme supplementation improved overall CP digestibility by 2.9%, this improvement was not equal for all AA. Of the AA most important for broilers fed corn-soybean diets, the digestibilities of Lys, Met, and Arg were not improved or not improved significantly by the enzyme supplementation; however, that of Val was improved by 2.3% and that of Thr was improved by 3.0%. A performance trial demonstrated that enzyme supplementation with equal diet formulation improved BW and the feed conversion ratio by 1.9 and 2.2%, respectively. A second performance trial compared standard diet formulations with formulations using enzyme supplementation and energy levels that were reduced by the amount of improvement provided by the inclusion of enzyme in the first performance trial. No difference was seen between treatments, showing that the improvement of nutrient utilization brought about by enzyme supplementation completely compensated for the reduced energy content. Whereas enzyme supplementation should allow a reduction in CP formulation as well, individual AA were not improved equally by supplementation and should also be balanced.
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