Abstract:Metallothionein (Mt) has been considered as a molecular marker of metal pollution in aquatic ecosystems. Less is known about the expression of mt gene during embryogenesis. Here, we report the cloning, sequencing, and the expression pattern of mt gene during developmental stages in zebrafish. The zebrafish embryogenesis when takes place in a medium containing a dosage of 1000 μM zinc resulted in high mortality, indicating the deleterious effect of zinc on development. The zebrafish mt gene consists of three exons encoding 60 amino acids with 20 conserved cysteine residues. RT-PCR result indicates the maternal contribution of Mt transcripts. Using digoxigenin (DIG)-labeled anti-sense RNA probe, whole-mount in situ hybridization was performed to observe the expression pattern of zebrafish mt gene during embryonic and early larval stages. Stronger as well as ubiquitous expression of mt gene during early embryonic stages narrowed to specific expression after hatching. The mt promoter region contains seven copies of putative metal-responsive elements (MREs), which are shown to be important for the high level activity by deletion analysis. The expression of mt gene during embryogenesis implies its significant role on development.