Knockdown of leptin A expression dramatically alters zebrafish development.
ABSTRACT: Using morpholino antisense oligonucleotide (MO) technology, we blocked leptin A or leptin receptor expression in embryonic zebrafish, and analyzed consequences of leptin A knock-down on fish development. Embryos injected with leptin A or leptin receptor MOs (leptin A or leptin receptor morphants) had smaller bodies and eyes, undeveloped inner ear, enlarged pericardial cavity, curved body and/or tail and larger yolk compared to control embryos of the same stages. The defects persisted in 6-9 days old larvae. We found that blocking leptin A function had little effect on the development of early brain (1 day old), but differentiation of both the morphant dorsal brain and retinal cells was severely disrupted in older (2 days old) embryos. Despite the enlarged pericardial cavity, differentiation of cardiac cells appeared to be similar to control embryos. Formation of the morphants' inner ear is also severely disrupted, which corroborates existing reports of leptin receptor expression in inner ear of both zebrafish and mammals. Co-injection of leptin A MO and recombinant leptin results in partial rescue of the wild-type phenotype. Our results suggest that leptin A plays distinct roles in zebrafish development.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The zona pellucida (ZP) domain is part of many extracellular proteins with diverse functions from structural components to receptors. The mammalian ?-tectorin is a protein of 336 amino acid residues containing a single ZP domain and a putative signal peptide at the N-terminus of the protein. It is 1 component of a gel-like structure called the tectorial membrane which is involved in transforming sound waves into neuronal signals and is important for normal auditory function. ?-Tectorin is specifically expressed in the mammalian and avian inner ear. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We identified and cloned the gene encoding zebrafish ?-tectorin. Through whole-mount in situ hybridization, we demonstrated that ?-tectorin messenger RNA was expressed in the otic placode and specialized sensory patch of the inner ear during zebrafish embryonic stages. Morpholino knockdown of zebrafish ?-tectorin affected the position and number of otoliths in the ears of morphants. Finally, swimming behaviors of ?-tectorin morphants were abnormal since the development of the inner ear was compromised. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our results reveal that zebrafish ?-tectorin is specifically expressed in the zebrafish inner ear, and is important for regulating the development of the zebrafish inner ear. Lack of zebrafish ?-tectorin caused severe defects in inner ear formation of otoliths and function.
Project description:Leucine-rich Repeat Containing protein 10 (LRRC10) has recently been identified as a cardiac-specific factor in mice. However, the function of this factor remains to be elucidated. In this study, we investigated the developmental roles of Lrrc10 using zebrafish as an animal model. Knockdown of Lrrc10 in zebrafish embryos (morphants) using morpholinos caused severe cardiac morphogenic defects including a cardiac looping failure accompanied by a large pericardial edema, and embryonic lethality between day 6 and 7 post fertilization. The Lrrc10 morphants exhibited cardiac functional defects as evidenced by a decrease in ejection fraction and cardiac output. Further investigations into the underlying mechanisms of the cardiac defects revealed that the number of cardiomyocyte was reduced in the morphants. Expression of two cardiac genes was deregulated in the morphants including an increase in atrial natriuretic factor, a hallmark for cardiac hypertrophy and failure, and a decrease in cardiac myosin light chain 2, an essential protein for cardiac contractility in zebrafish. Moreover, a reduced fluorescence intensity from NADH in the morphant heart was observed in live zebrafish embryos as compared to control. Taken together, the present study demonstrates that Lrrc10 is necessary for normal cardiac development and cardiac function in zebrafish embryos, which will enhance our understanding of congenital heart defects and heart disease.
Project description:PTEN is a tumor suppressor gene associated with multiple tumor types. PTEN function is essential for early embryonic development and is involved in the regulation of cell size, number, and survival. By dephosphorylating PIP(3), PTEN normally acts to inhibit the PI3-Kinase/AKT pathway. Here we have identified two zebrafish orthologs, ptena and ptenb, of the single mammalian PTEN gene and analyzed the role of these genes in zebrafish development. Ptena transcripts were expressed throughout the embryo at early somitogenesis. By 24 hpf, expression was predominant in the central nervous system, axial vasculature, retina, branchial arches, ear, lateral line primordium, and pectoral fin bud. Ptenb was also ubiquitously expressed early in somitogenesis, but transcripts became more restricted to the somites and central nervous system as development progressed. By 48 hpf, ptena and ptenb were expressed predominantly in the central nervous system, branchial arches, pectoral fins, and eye. Antisense morpholinos were used to knock down translation of ptena and ptenb mRNA in zebrafish embryos. Knockdown of either pten gene caused increased levels of phosphorylated Akt in morphant embryos, indicating that Ptena and Ptenb each possess PIP(3) lipid phosphatase activity. Ptena morphants had irregularities in notochord shape (73%), vasculogenesis (83%), head shape (72%), and inner ear development (59%). The most noticeable defects in ptenb morphants were upward hooked tails (73%), domed heads (83%), and reduced yolk extensions (90%). These results indicate that ptena and ptenb encode functional enzymes and that each pten gene plays a distinct role during zebrafish embryogenesis.
Project description:Meckel syndrome (MKS) is a lethal disorder associated with renal cystic disease, encephalocele, ductal plate malformation and polydactyly. MKS is genetically heterogeneous and part of a growing list of syndromes called ciliopathies, disorders resulting from defective cilia. TMEM67 mutation (MKS3) is a major cause of MKS and the related ciliopathy Joubert syndrome, although the complete etiology of the disease is not well understood. To further investigate MKS3, we analyzed phenotypes in the Tmem67 null mouse (bpck) and in zebrafish tmem67 morphants. Phenotypes similar to those in human MKS and other ciliopathy models were observed, with additional eye, skeletal and inner ear abnormalities characterized in the bpck mouse. The observed disorganized stereociliary bundles in the bpck inner ear and the convergent extension defects in zebrafish morphants are similar to those found in planar cell polarity (PCP) mutants, a pathway suggested to be defective in ciliopathies. However, analysis of classical vertebrate PCP readouts in the bpck mouse and ciliary organization analysis in tmem67 morphants did not support a global loss of planar polarity. Canonical Wnt signaling was upregulated in cyst linings and isolated fibroblasts from the bpck mouse, but was unchanged in the retina and cochlea tissue, suggesting that increased Wnt signaling may only be linked to MKS3 phenotypes associated with elevated proliferation. Together, these data suggest that defective cilia loading, but not a global loss of ciliogenesis, basal body docking or PCP signaling leads to dysfunctional cilia in MKS3 tissues.
Project description:Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency is the most common genetic defect and enzymopathy worldwide, affecting approximately 400 million people and causing acute hemolysis in persons exposed to prooxidant compounds such as menthol, naphthalene, antimalarial drugs, and fava beans. Mouse models have not been useful because of a lack of significant response to oxidative challenge. We turned to zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos, which develop ex utero and are transparent, allowing visualization of hemolysis. We designed morpholinos to zebrafish g6pd that were effective in reducing gene expression as shown by Western blot and G6PD enzyme activity, resulting in a brisk hemolysis and pericardial edema secondary to anemia. Titration of the g6pd knockdown allowed us to generate embryos that displayed no overt phenotype until exposed to the prooxidant compounds 1-naphthol, menthol, or primaquine, after which they developed hemolysis and pericardial edema within 48-72 hours. We were also able to show that g6pd morphants displayed significant levels of increased oxidative stress compared with controls. We anticipate that this will be a useful model of G6PD deficiency to study hemolysis as well as oxidative stress that occurs after exposure to prooxidants, similar to what occurs in G6PD-deficient persons.
Project description:Genetic regulators and signaling pathways are important for the formation of blood vessels. Transcription factors controlling vein identity, intersegmental vessels (ISV) growth and caudal vein plexus (CVP) formation in zebrafish are little understood as yet. Here, we show the importance of the nuclear receptor subfamily member 1A (nr2f1a) in zebrafish vascular development. Amino acid sequence alignment and phylogenetic analysis of nr2f1a is highly conserved among the vertebrates. Our in situ hybridization results showed nr2f1a mRNA is expressed in the lateral plate mesoderm at 18 somite stage and in vessels at 24-30 hpf, suggesting its roles in vasculization. Consistent with this morpholino-based knockdown of nr2fla impaired ISV growth and failed to develop fenestrated vascular structure in CVP, suggesting that nr2f1a has important roles in controlling ISV and CVP growth. Consequently, nr2f1a morphants showed pericardial edema and circulation defects. We further demonstrated reduced ISV cells and decreased CVP endothelial cells sprouting in nr2f1a morphants, indicating the growth impairment of ISV and CVP is due to a decrease of cell proliferation and migration, but not results from cell death in endothelial cells after morpholino knockdown. To test molecular mechanisms and signals that are associated with nr2f1a, we examined the expression of vascular markers. We found that a loss of nr2f1a results in a decreased expression of vein/ISV specific markers, flt4, mrc1, vascular markers stabilin and ephrinb2. This indicates the regulatory role of nr2f1a in controlling vascular development. We further showed that nr2f1a likely interact with Notch signaling by examining nr2f1a expression in rbpsuh morphants and DAPT-treatment embryos. Together, we show nr2f1a plays a critical role for vascular development in zebrafish.
Project description:The transcription factor Sox9 has been implicated in inner ear formation in several species. To investigate the long-term consequences of Sox9 depletion on inner ear development we analyzed the inner ear architecture of Sox9-depleted Xenopus tadpoles generated by injection of increasing amounts of Sox9 morpholino antisense oligonucleotides. We found that Sox9-depletion resulted in major defects in the development of vestibular structures, semicircular canals and utricle, while the ventrally located saccule was less severely affected in these embryos. Consistent with this phenotype, we observed a specific loss of the dorsal expression of Wnt3a expression in the otic vesicle of Sox9 morphants, associated with an increase in cell death and a reduction in cell proliferation in the region of the presumptive otic epithelium. We propose that, in addition to its early role in placode specification, Sox9 is also required for the maintenance of progenitors in the otic epithelium.
Project description:The retention of particular genes after the whole genome duplication in zebrafish has given insights into how genes may evolve through partitioning of ancestral functions. We examine the partitioning of expression patterns and functions of two zebrafish kit ligands, kit ligand a (kitla) and kit ligand b (kitlb), and discuss their possible coevolution with the duplicated zebrafish kit receptors (kita and kitb). In situ hybridizations show that kitla mRNA is expressed in the trunk adjacent to the notochord in the middle of each somite during stages of melanocyte migration and later expressed in the skin, when the receptor is required for melanocyte survival. kitla is also expressed in other regions complementary to kita receptor expression, including the pineal gland, tail bud, and ear. In contrast, kitlb mRNA is expressed in brain ventricles, ear, and cardinal vein plexus, in regions generally not complementary to either zebrafish kit receptor ortholog. However, like kitla, kitlb is expressed in the skin during stages consistent with melanocyte survival. Thus, it appears that kita and kitla have maintained congruent expression patterns, while kitb and kitlb have evolved divergent expression patterns. We demonstrate the interaction of kita and kitla by morpholino knockdown analysis. kitla morphants, but not kitlb morphants, phenocopy the null allele of kita, with defects for both melanocyte migration and survival. Furthermore, kitla morpholino, but not kitlb morpholino, interacts genetically with a sensitized allele of kita, confirming that kitla is the functional ligand to kita. Last, we examine kitla overexpression in embryos, which results in hyperpigmentation caused by an increase in the number and size of melanocytes. This hyperpigmentation is dependent on kita function. We conclude that following genome duplication, kita and kitla have maintained their receptor-ligand relationship, coevolved complementary expression patterns, and that functional analysis reveals that most or all of the kita receptor's function in the embryo are promoted by its interaction with kitla.
Project description:The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) repressor (AHRR), an AHR-related basic helix-loop-helix/Per-AHR nuclear translocator-Sim protein, is regulated by an AHR-dependent mechanism and acts as a transcriptional repressor of AHR function. Resulting from a teleost-specific genome duplication, zebrafish have two AHRR genes (AHRRa and AHRRb), but their functions in vivo are not well understood. We used antisense morpholino oligonucleotides (MOs) in zebrafish embryos and a zebrafish liver cell line (ZF-L) to characterize the interaction of AHRRs and AHRs in normal embryonic development, AHR signaling, and 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) toxicity. Zebrafish embryos exposed to TCDD (2 and 8nM) during early development showed strong induction of CYP1A, AHRRa, and AHRRb at 48 and 72 hours post-fertilization (hpf). An MO targeting AHR2 inhibited TCDD-induced expression of CYP1A, AHRRa, and AHRRb by 84-95% in 48 hpf embryos, demonstrating a primary role for AHR2 in mediating AHRR induction. Dual MO knockdown of both AHRRs in ZF-L cells enhanced TCDD induction of CYP1A, but not other CYP1 genes. In embryos, dual knockdown of AHRRs, or knockdown of AHRRb alone, enhanced the induction of CYP1A, CYP1B1, and CYP1C1 by TCDD and decreased the constitutive expression of Sox9b. In contrast, knockdown of AHRRa did not affect Sox9b expression or CYP1 inducibility. Embryos microinjected with each of two different MOs targeting AHRRa and exposed to dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) displayed developmental phenotypes resembling those typical of TCDD-exposed embryos (pericardial edema and lower jaw malformations). In contrast, no developmental phenotypes were observed in DMSO-exposed AHRRb morphants. These data demonstrate distinct roles of AHRRa and AHRRb in regulating AHR signaling in vivo and suggest that they have undergone subfunction partitioning since the teleost-specific genome duplication.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) genes bmp2 and bmp4 are expressed in highly conserved patterns in the developing vertebrate inner ear. It has, however, proved difficult to elucidate the function of BMPs during ear development as mutations in these genes cause early embryonic lethality. Previous studies using conditional approaches in mouse and chicken have shown that Bmp4 has a role in semicircular canal and crista development, but there is currently no direct evidence for the role of Bmp2 in the developing inner ear. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:We have used an RNA rescue strategy to test the role of bmp2b in the zebrafish inner ear directly. Injection of bmp2b or smad5 mRNA into homozygous mutant swirl (bmp2b(-/-)) embryos rescues the early patterning defects in these mutants and the fish survive to adulthood. As injected RNA will only last, at most, for the first few days of embryogenesis, all later development occurs in the absence of bmp2b function. Although rescued swirl adult fish are viable, they have balance defects suggestive of vestibular dysfunction. Analysis of the inner ears of these fish reveals a total absence of semicircular canal ducts, structures involved in the detection of angular motion. All other regions of the ear, including the ampullae and cristae, are present and appear normal. Early stages of otic development in rescued swirl embryos are also normal. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:Our findings demonstrate a critical late role for bmp2b in the morphogenesis of semicircular canals in the zebrafish inner ear. This is the first demonstration of a developmental role for any gene during post-embryonic stages of otic morphogenesis in the zebrafish. Despite differences in the early stages of semicircular canal formation between zebrafish and amniotes, the role of Bmp2 in semicircular canal duct outgrowth is likely to be conserved between different vertebrate species.