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Forskningsartikel2022Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

Differential expression of enzymes in thymidylate biosynthesis in zebrafish at different developmental stages: implications for dtymk mutation-caused neurodegenerative disorders

Frisk, Junmei Hu; Orn, Stefan; Pejler, Gunnar; Eriksson, Staffan; Wang, Liya


Background Deoxythymidine triphosphate (dTTP) is an essential building block of DNA, and defects in enzymes involved in dTTP synthesis cause neurodegenerative disorders. For instance, mutations in DTYMK, the gene coding for thymidylate kinase (TMPK), cause severe microcephaly in human. However, the mechanism behind this is not well-understood. Here we used the zebrafish model and studied (i) TMPK, an enzyme required for both the de novo and the salvage pathways of dTTP synthesis, and (ii) thymidine kinases (TK) of the salvage pathway in order to understand their role in neuropathology. Results Our findings reveal that maternal-stored dNTPs are only sufficient for 6 cell division cycles, and the levels of dNTPs are inversely correlated to cell cycle length during early embryogenesis. TMPK and TK activities are prominent in the cytosol of embryos, larvae and adult fish and brain contains the highest TMPK activity. During early development, TMPK activity increased gradually from 6 hpf and a profound increase was observed at 72 hpf, and TMPK activity reached its maximal level at 96 hpf, and remained at high level until 144 hpf. The expression of dtymk encoded Dtymk protein correlated to its mRNA expression and neuronal development but not to the TMPK activity detected. However, despite the high TMPK activity detected at later stages of development, the Dtymk protein was undetectable. Furthermore, the TMPK enzyme detected at later stages showed similar biochemical properties as the Dtymk enzyme but was not recognized by the Dtymk specific antibody. Conclusions Our results suggest that active dNTP synthesis in early embryogenesis is vital and that Dtymk is essential for neurodevelopment, which is supported by a recent study of dtymk knockout zebrafish with neurological disorder and lethal outcomes. Furthermore, there is a novel TMPK-like enzyme expressed at later stages of development.


Thymidylate kinase; Dtymk; Thymidine kinase; Tk; dTTP synthesis; dNTPs; Zebrafish development; Neuronal development

Publicerad i

BMC Neuroscience
2022, Volym: 23, nummer: 1, artikelnummer: 19
Utgivare: BMC