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Analysis of the Zebrafish perplexed mutation reveals tissue-specific roles for de novo pyrimidine synthesis during development. Genetics 2005 Aug;170(4):1827-37



Pubmed ID


Pubmed Central ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-25444508919   33 Citations


The zebrafish perplexed mutation disrupts cell proliferation and differentiation during retinal development. In addition, growth and morphogenesis of the tectum, jaw, and pectoral fins are also affected. Positional cloning was used to identify a mutation in the carbamoyl-phosphate synthetase2-aspartate transcarbamylase-dihydroorotase (cad) gene as possibly causative of the perplexed mutation and this was confirmed by gene knockdown and pyrimidine rescue experiments. CAD is required for de novo biosynthesis of pyrimidines that are required for DNA, RNA, and UDP-dependent protein glycosylation. Developmental studies of several vertebrate species showed high levels of cad expression in tissues where mutant phenotypes were observed. Confocal time-lapse analysis of perplexed retinal cells in vivo showed a near doubling of the cell cycle period length. We also compared the perplexed mutation with mutations that affect either DNA synthesis or UDP-dependent protein glycosylation. Cumulatively, our results suggest an essential role for CAD in facilitating proliferation and differentiation events in a tissue-specific manner during vertebrate development. Both de novo DNA synthesis and UDP-dependent protein glycosylation are important for the perplexed phenotypes.

Author List

Willer GB, Lee VM, Gregg RG, Link BA


Brian A. Link PhD Professor in the Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Aspartate Carbamoyltransferase
Carbamoyl-Phosphate Synthase (Glutamine-Hydrolyzing)
Cell Cycle Proteins
Embryo, Nonmammalian
Microscopy, Confocal
Microscopy, Video
Zebrafish Proteins
jenkins-FCD Prod-486 e3098984f26de787f5ecab75090d0a28e7f4f7c0