An important developmental role for oligosaccharides during early embryogenesis of cyprinid fish

Jeroen Bakkers, Carlos E. Semino, Henri Stroband, Jan W. Kijne, Phillips W. Robbins, Herman P. Spaink

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


Derivatives of chitin oligosaccharides have been shown to play a role in plant organogenesis at nanomolar concentrations. Here we present data which indicate that chitin oligosaccharides are important for embryogenesis in vertebrates. We characterize chitin oligosaccharides synthesized in vitro by zebrafish and carp embryos in the late gastrulation stage by incorporation of radiolabeled N-acetyl-D-[U14C]glucosamine and by HPLC in combination with enzymatic conversion using the Bradyrhizobium NodZ α-1,6-fucosyltransferase and chitinases. A rapid and sensitive bioassay for chitin oligosaccharides was also used employing suspension-cultured plant cells of Catharanthus roseus. We show that chitin oligosaccharide synthase activity is apparent only during late gastrulation and can be inhibited by anti-serum raised against the Xenopus DG42 protein. The DG42 protein, a glycosyltransferase, is transiently expressed between midblastula and neurulation in Xenopus and zebrafish embryogenesis. Microinjection of the DG42 antiserum or the Bradyrhizobium NodZ enzyme in fertilized eggs of zebrafish led to severe defects in trunk and tail development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7982-7986
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 1997
Externally publishedYes


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