Post-transcriptional regulation of wnt8a is essential to zebrafish axis development

Annika D. Wylie, Jo Ann G.W. Fleming, Amy E. Whitener, Arne C. Lekven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


wnt8a Is essential for normal patterning during vertebrate embryonic development, and either gain or loss-of-function gene dysregulation results in severe axis malformations. The zebrafish wnt8a locus is structured such that transcripts may possess two regulatory 3' untranslated regions (UTRs), raising the possibility of post-transcriptional regulation as an important mode of wnt8a signaling control. To determine whether both UTRs contribute to post-transcriptional wnt8a gene regulation, each UTR (UTR1 and UTR2) was tested in transient and transgenic reporter assays. Both UTRs suppress EGFP reporter expression in cis, with UTR2 exhibiting a more pronounced effect. UTR2 contains a 6 base sequence necessary for UTR2 regulatory function that is complementary to the seed of the microRNA, miR-430. A target protector morpholino that overlaps the seed complement stabilizes both reporter mRNAs and wnt8a mRNAs, and produces phenotypic abnormalities consistent with wnt8a gain-of-function. In rescue assays, specific functions can be attributed to each of the two wnt8a proteins encoded by the locus. An interplay of wnt8a.1 and wnt8a.2 regulates neural and mesodermal patterning and morphogenesis as well as patterning between brain subdivisions. Thus, post-transcriptional control of wnt8a is essential to fine tune the balance of the signaling outputs of the complex wnt8a locus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-63
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Axis patterning
  • MiR-430
  • Neural posteriorization
  • Post-transcriptional
  • UTR
  • Wnt8a
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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