Brorin is required for neurogenesis, gliogenesis, and commissural axon guidance in the zebrafish forebrain

Bmps regulate numerous neural functions with their regulators. We previously identified Brorin, a neural-specific secreted antagonist of Bmp signaling, in humans, mice, and zebrafish. Mouse Brorin has two cysteine-rich domains containing 10 cysteine residues in its core region, and these are located in similar positions to those in the cysteine-rich domains of Chordin family members, which are secreted Bmp antagonists. Zebrafish Brorin had two cysteine-rich domains with high similarity to those of mouse Brorin. We herein examined zebrafish brorin in order to elucidate its in vivo actions. Zebrafish brorin was predominantly expressed in developing neural tissues. The overexpression of brorin led to the inactivation of Bmp signaling. On the other hand, the knockdown of brorin resulted in the activation of Bmp signaling and brorin morphants exhibited defective development of the ventral domain in the forebrain. Furthermore, the knockdown of brorin inhibited the generation of γ–aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic interneurons and oligodendrocytes and promoted the generation of astrocytes in the forebrain. In addition, brorin was required for axon guidance in the forebrain. The present results suggest that Brorin is a secreted Bmp antagonist predominantly expressed in developing neural tissues and that it plays multiple roles in the development of the zebrafish forebrain.