Gene duplication and functional divergence of the zebrafish insulin-like growth factor 1 receptors

Peter J. Schlueter, Tricia Royer, Mohamed H. Farah, Benjamin Laser, Jin Chan Shu, Donald F. Steiner, Cunming Duan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Insulin-like growth factor (IGF) 1 receptor (IGF1R)-mediated signaling plays key roles in growth, development, and physiology. Recent studies have shown that there are two distinct igf1r genes in zebrafish, termed igf1ra and igf1rb. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that zebrafish igf1ra and igf1rb resulted from a gene duplication event at the igf1r locus and that this has led to their functional divergence. The genomic structures of zebrafish igf1ra and igf1rb were determined and their loci mapped. While zebrafish igf1ra has 21 exons and is located on linkage group (LG) 18, zebrafish igf1rb has 22 exons and mapped to LG 7. There is a strong syntenic relationship between the two zebrafish genes and the human IG F1R gene. Using a MO-based loss-of-function approach, we show that both Igf1ra and Igf1rb are required for zebrafish embryo viability and proper growth and development. Although Igf1ra and Igf1rb demonstrated a large degree of functional overlap with regard to cell differentiation in the developing eye, inner ear, heart, and muscle, they also exhibited functional distinction involving a greater requirement for Igf1rb in spontaneous muscle contractility. These findings suggest that the duplicated zebrafish ig f1r genes play largely overlapping but not identical functional roles in early development and provide novel insight into the functional evolution of the IGF1R/insulin receptor gene family.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E462-E471
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Developmental timing
  • Growth
  • Heart
  • IGF signaling
  • Inner ear
  • Muscle
  • Retina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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