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Antisense morpholino oligonucleotides have been commonly used in zebrafish to inhibit mRNA function, either by inhibiting pre-mRNA splicing or by blocking translation initiation. Even with the advent of genome editing by CRISP/Cas9 technology, morpholinos provide a useful and rapid tool to knockdown gene expression. This is especially true when dealing with multiple alleles and large gene families where genetic redundancy can complicate knockout of all family members. miRNAs are small noncoding RNAs that are often encoded in gene families and can display extensive genetic redundancy. This redundancy, plus their small size which can limit targeting by CRISPR/Cas9, makes morpholino-based strategies particularly attractive for inhibition of miRNA function. We provide the rationale, background, and methods to inhibit miRNA function with antisense morpholinos during early development and in the adult retina in zebrafish.
The zebrafish skeleton shares many similarities with human and other vertebrate skeletons. Over the past years, work in zebrafish has provided an extensive understanding of the basic developmental mechanisms and cellular pathways directing skeletal development and homeostasis. This review will focus on the cell biology of cartilage and bone and how the basic cellular processes within chondrocytes and osteocytes function to assemble the structural frame of a vertebrate body. We will discuss fundamental functions of skeletal cells in production and secretion of extracellular matrix and cellular activities leading to differentiation of progenitors to mature cells that make up the skeleton. We highlight important examples where findings in zebrafish provided direction for the search for genes causing human skeletal defects and also how zebrafish research has proven important for validating candidate human disease genes. The work we cover here illustrates utility of zebrafish in unraveling molecular mechanisms of cellular functions necessary to form and maintain a healthy skeleton.
© 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Current efforts to repair damaged or diseased mammalian retinas are inefficient and largely incapable of fully restoring vision. Conversely, the zebrafish retina is capable of spontaneous regeneration upon damage using Müller glia (MG)-derived progenitors. Understanding how zebrafish MG initiate regeneration may help develop new treatments that prompt mammalian retinas to regenerate. We show that inhibition of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) signaling facilitates initiation of MG proliferation. GABA levels decrease following damage, and MG are positioned to detect decreased ambient levels and undergo dedifferentiation. Using pharmacological and genetic approaches, we demonstrate that GABA receptor inhibition stimulates regeneration in undamaged retinas while activation inhibits regeneration in damaged retinas.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Control of organellar assembly and function is critical to eukaryotic homeostasis and survival. Gle1 is a highly conserved regulator of RNA-dependent DEAD-box ATPase proteins, with critical roles in both mRNA export and translation. In addition to its well-defined interaction with nuclear pore complexes, here we find that Gle1 is enriched at the centrosome and basal body. Gle1 assembles into the toroid-shaped pericentriolar material around the mother centriole. Reduced Gle1 levels are correlated with decreased pericentrin localization at the centrosome and microtubule organization defects. Of importance, these alterations in centrosome integrity do not result from loss of mRNA export. Examination of the Kupffer's vesicle in Gle1-depleted zebrafish revealed compromised ciliary beating and developmental defects. We propose that Gle1 assembly into the pericentriolar material positions the DEAD-box protein regulator to function in localized mRNA metabolism required for proper centrosome function.
© 2017 Jao et al. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). Two months after publication it is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0).
Genome-wide association studies have identified >50 common variants associated with kidney function, but these variants do not fully explain the variation in eGFR. We performed a two-stage meta-analysis of associations between genotypes from the Illumina exome array and eGFR on the basis of serum creatinine (eGFRcrea) among participants of European ancestry from the CKDGen Consortium (: 111,666; : 48,343). In single-variant analyses, we identified single nucleotide polymorphisms at seven new loci associated with eGFRcrea (, , and ; <3.7×10), of which most were common and annotated as nonsynonymous variants. Gene-based analysis identified associations of functional rare variants in three genes with eGFRcrea, including a novel association with the SOS Ras/Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factor 2 gene, (=5.4×10 by sequence kernel association test). Experimental follow-up in zebrafish embryos revealed changes in glomerular gene expression and renal tubule morphology in the embryonic kidney of and -knockdowns. These developmental abnormalities associated with altered blood clearance rate and heightened prevalence of edema. This study expands the number of loci associated with kidney function and identifies novel genes with potential roles in kidney formation.
Copyright © 2017 by the American Society of Nephrology.
The refractivity and transparency of the ocular lens is dependent on the stability and solubility of the crystallins in the fiber cells. A number of mutations of lens crystallins have been associated with dominant cataracts in humans and mice. Of particular interest were γB- and γD-crystallin mutants linked to dominant cataracts in mouse models. Although thermodynamically destabilized and aggregation-prone, these mutants were found to have weak affinity to the resident chaperone α-crystallin in vitro To better understand the mechanism of the cataract phenotype, we transgenically expressed different γD-crystallin mutants in the zebrafish lens and observed a range of lens defects that arise primarily from the aggregation of the mutant proteins. Unlike mouse models, a strong correlation was observed between the severity and penetrance of the phenotype and the level of destabilization of the mutant. We interpret this result to reflect the presence of a proteostasis network that can "sense" protein stability. In the more destabilized mutants, the capacity of this network is overwhelmed, leading to the observed increase in phenotypic penetrance. Overexpression of αA-crystallin had no significant effects on the penetrance of lens defects, suggesting that its chaperone capacity is not limiting. Although consistent with the prevailing hypothesis that a chaperone network is required for lens transparency, our results suggest that αA-crystallin may not be efficient to inhibit aggregation of lens γ-crystallin. Furthermore, our work implicates additional inputs/factors in this underlying proteostasis network and demonstrates the utility of zebrafish as a platform to delineate mechanisms of cataract.
© 2016 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
The zebrafish pineal complex consists of four cell types (rod and cone photoreceptors, projection neurons and parapineal neurons) that are derived from a single pineal complex anlage. After specification, parapineal neurons migrate unilaterally away from the rest of the pineal complex whereas rods, cones and projection neurons are non-migratory. The transcription factor Tbx2b is important for both the correct number and migration of parapineal neurons. We find that two additional transcription factors, Flh and Nr2e3, negatively regulate parapineal formation. Flh induces non-migratory neuron fates and limits the extent of parapineal specification, in part by activation of Nr2e3 expression. Tbx2b is positively regulated by Flh, but opposes Flh action during specification of parapineal neurons. Loss of parapineal neuron specification in Tbx2b-deficient embryos can be partially rescued by loss of Nr2e3 or Flh function; however, parapineal migration absolutely requires Tbx2b activity. We conclude that cell specification and migration in the pineal complex are regulated by a network of at least three transcription factors.
© 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
Upon Notch pathway activation, the receptor is cleaved to release the Notch intracellular domain (NICD), which translocates to the nucleus to activate gene transcription. Using Xenopus egg extracts, we have identified a Notch1-specific destruction signal (N1-Box). We show that mutations in the N1-Box inhibit NICD1 degradation and that the N1-Box is transferable for the promotion of degradation of heterologous proteins in Xenopus egg extracts and in cultured human cells. Mutation of the N1-Box enhances Notch1 activity in cultured human cells and zebrafish embryos. Human cancer mutations within the N1-Box enhance Notch1 signaling in transgenic zebrafish, highlighting the physiological relevance of this destruction signal. We find that binding of the Notch nuclear factor, CSL, to the N1-Box blocks NICD1 turnover. Our studies reveal a mechanism by which degradation of NICD1 is regulated by the N1-Box to minimize stochastic flux and to establish a threshold for Notch1 pathway activation.
Copyright © 2016 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In many cancers, aberrant Notch activity has been demonstrated to play a role in the initiation and maintenance of the neoplastic phenotype and in cancer stem cells, which may allude to its additional involvement in metastasis and resistance to therapy. Therefore, Notch is an exceedingly attractive therapeutic target in cancer, but the full range of potential targets within the pathway has been underexplored. To date, there are no small-molecule inhibitors that directly target the intracellular Notch pathway or the assembly of the transcriptional activation complex. Here, we describe an in vitro assay that quantitatively measures the assembly of the Notch transcriptional complex on DNA. Integrating this approach with computer-aided drug design, we explored potential ligand-binding sites and screened for compounds that could disrupt the assembly of the Notch transcriptional activation complex. We identified a small-molecule inhibitor, termed Inhibitor of Mastermind Recruitment-1 (IMR-1), that disrupted the recruitment of Mastermind-like 1 to the Notch transcriptional activation complex on chromatin, thereby attenuating Notch target gene transcription. Furthermore, IMR-1 inhibited the growth of Notch-dependent cell lines and significantly abrogated the growth of patient-derived tumor xenografts. Taken together, our findings suggest that a novel class of Notch inhibitors targeting the transcriptional activation complex may represent a new paradigm for Notch-based anticancer therapeutics, warranting further preclinical characterization. Cancer Res; 76(12); 3593-603. ©2016 AACR.
©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.
Medulloblastoma is a highly malignant paediatric brain tumour, often inflicting devastating consequences on the developing child. Genomic studies have revealed four distinct molecular subgroups with divergent biology and clinical behaviour. An understanding of the regulatory circuitry governing the transcriptional landscapes of medulloblastoma subgroups, and how this relates to their respective developmental origins, is lacking. Here, using H3K27ac and BRD4 chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing (ChIP-seq) coupled with tissue-matched DNA methylation and transcriptome data, we describe the active cis-regulatory landscape across 28 primary medulloblastoma specimens. Analysis of differentially regulated enhancers and super-enhancers reinforced inter-subgroup heterogeneity and revealed novel, clinically relevant insights into medulloblastoma biology. Computational reconstruction of core regulatory circuitry identified a master set of transcription factors, validated by ChIP-seq, that is responsible for subgroup divergence, and implicates candidate cells of origin for Group 4. Our integrated analysis of enhancer elements in a large series of primary tumour samples reveals insights into cis-regulatory architecture, unrecognized dependencies, and cellular origins.