Dev. Dyn. 242 (8) 964-975 [2013-08-00; online 2013-06-18]
Chondroitin/dermatan sulfate (CS/DS) proteoglycans present in the extracellular matrix have important structural and regulatory functions. Six human genes have previously been shown to catalyze CS/DS polymerization. Here we show that one of these genes, chpf, is represented by two copies in the zebrafish genome, chpfa and chpfb, while the other five human CS/DS glycosyltransferases csgalnact1, csgalnact2, chpf2, chsy1, and chsy3 all have single zebrafish orthologues. The putative zebrafish CS/DS glycosyltransferases are spatially and temporally expressed. Interestingly, overlapping expression of multiple glycosyltransferases coincides with high CS/DS deposition. Finally, whereas the relative levels of the related polysaccharide HS reach steady-state at around 2 days post fertilization, there is a continued relative increase of the CS amounts per larvae during the first 6 days of development, matching the increased cartilage formation. There are 7 CS/DS glycosyltransferases in zebrafish, which, based on homology, can be divided into the CSGALNACT, CHSY, and CHPF families. The overlap between intense CS/DS production and the expression of multiple CS/DS glycosyltransferases suggests that efficient CS/DS biosynthesis requires a combination of several glycosyltransferases.