The sonic hedgehog signaling pathway and the development of pharyngeal arch derivatives in Haplochromis piceatus, a Lake Victoria cichlid

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2015
Authors:S. - W. Cho, Van Rijssel, J. C. , Witte, F. , De Bakker, M. A. G. , Richardson, M. K.
Journal:Journal of Oral Biosciences
Type of Article:epub 17 July 2015 ahead of print
Keywords:Cichlid, development, Haplochromis piceatus, Pharyngeal arch, shh


Pharyngeal arches develop in the head and neck regions, and give rise to teeth, oral jaws, the hyoid bone, operculum, gills, and pharyngeal jaws in teleosts. In this study, the expression patterns of genes in the sonic hedgehog (shh), wnt, ectodysplasin A (eda), and bone morphogenetic protein (bmp) pathways were investigated in the pharyngeal arches of Haplochromis piceatus, one of the Lake Victoria cichlids. Furthermore, the role of the shh pathway in pharyngeal arch development in H. piceatus larvae was investigated.


The expression patterns of lymphocyte enhancer binding factor 1 (lef1), ectodysplasin A receptor (edar), shh, patched 1 (ptch1), bmp4, sp5 transcription factor (sp5), sclerostin domain containing 1a (sostdc1a), and dickkopf 1 (dkk1) were investigated in H. piceatus larvae by in situ hybridization. The role of the shh pathway was investigated through morphological phenotypic characterization after its inhibition.


We found that lef1, edar, shh, ptch1, bmp4, dkk1, sostdc1a, and sp5 were expressed not only in the teeth, but also in the operculum and gill filaments of H piceatus larvae. After blocking the shh pathway using cyclopamine, we observed ectopic shh expression and the disappearance of ptch1 expression. After six weeks of cyclopamine treatment, an absence of teeth in the oral upper jaws and a poor outgrowth of premaxilla, operculum, and gill filaments in juvenile H. piceatus were observed.


These results suggest that the shh pathway is important for the development of pharyngeal arch derivatives such as teeth, premaxilla, operculum, and gill filaments in H. piceatus.

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