Retinoic acid in the anteroposterior patterning of the zebrafish trunk

Nicholas Marsh-Armstrong, Peter McCaffery, George Hyatt, Laura Alonso, John E. Dowling, Walter Gilbert, Ursula C. Dräger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Retinoic acid has been linked to pattern formation in the vertebrate anteroposterior axis. This report describes the spatial and temporal distributions of both endogenous retinoic acid and retinoic acid synthase activity along the anteroposterior axis of neurulating zebrafish embryos, as detected by a transient transgenic assay and by a zymography bioassay. Both retinoic acid levels and synthase activity were found to be highest in anterior regions of the trunk at all of the stages which were analysed. The drug disulfiram inhibited retinoic acid synthase activity in the zebrafish trunk both in vitro and in vivo, and reduced retinoic acid levels in vivo. Disulfiram treatment of neurulating embryos resulted in larvae with hypertrophic wavy notochords, shortened spinal cords and deformed pectoral fins. The results support the hypothesis that retinoic acid plays a role in the coordination of axial patterning at the developing node/zone of involution, as well as in the subsequent development of anterior trunk structures such as the fins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-113
Number of pages11
JournalRoux's Archives of Developmental Biology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Nov 1 1995


  • Axis formation
  • Disulfiram
  • Notochord
  • Retinoic acid
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Retinoic acid in the anteroposterior patterning of the zebrafish trunk'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this