Analysis of nicastrin gene phylogeny and expression in zebrafish Academic Article uri icon


  • NICASTRIN is a component of the aspartyl protease γ-secretase complex which is involved in intramembranous cleavage of type I transmembrane proteins, notably the Notch receptor proteins and the AMYLOID BETA A4 PRECURSOR PROTEIN (APP). This study aimed to characterize the orthologue of the human NICASTRIN (NCSTN) gene in zebrafish, an advantageous model organism for the study of human disease. Zebrafish Nicastrin protein was predicted to possess the conserved glutamate 333 residue and DYIGS motif of human NCSTN that are important for substrate recognition/processing in γ-secretase. Quantitative real-time RT-PCR revealed the profile of relative zebrafish nicastrin (ncstn) transcript levels in embryos at different times during development and in adult tissues. The analysis of synteny conservation revealed local rearrangements of ncstn and another gene, mpz, relative to copa, and pex19. In situ hybridization showed higher relative levels of ncstn transcripts in the developing brain and otic vesicles of embryos at 24 and 48 h post fertilization, respectively. Our observations are consistent with a role for Ncstn protein in Notch signaling within the proliferative ventricular zone of the developing central nervous system.

publication date

  • 2015