217 research outputs found

    Monorail/Foxa2 regulates floorplate differentiation and specification of oligodendrocytes, serotonergic raphe neurones and cranial motoneurones

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    In this study, we elucidate the roles of the winged-helix transcription factor Foxa2 in ventral CNS development in zebrafish. Through cloning of monorail (mol), which we find encodes the transcription factor Foxa2, and phenotypic analysis of mol(-/-) embryos, we show that floorplate is induced in the absence of Foxa2 function but fails to further differentiate. In mol(-/-) mutants, expression of Foxa and Hh family genes is not maintained in floorplate cells and lateral expansion of the floorplate fails to occur. Our results suggest that this is due to defects both in the regulation of Hh activity in medial floorplate cells as well as cell-autonomous requirements for Foxa2 in the prospective laterally positioned floorplate cells themselves. Foxa2 is also required for induction and/or patterning of several distinct cell types in the ventral CNS. Serotonergic neurones of the raphe nucleus and the trochlear motor nucleus are absent in mol(-/-) embryos, and oculomotor and facial motoneurones ectopically occupy ventral CNS midline positions in the midbrain and hindbrain. There is also a severe reduction of prospective oligodendrocytes in the midbrain and hindbrain. Finally, in the absence of Foxa2, at least two likely Hh pathway target genes are ectopically expressed in more dorsal regions of the midbrain and hindbrain ventricular neuroepithelium, raising the possibility that Foxa2 activity may normally be required to limit the range of action of secreted Hh proteins

    Multidisciplinary approaches to understanding collective cell migration in developmental biology

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    Mathematical models are becoming increasingly integrated with experimental efforts in the study of biological systems. Collective cell migration in developmental biology provides a particularly fruitful application area for the development and application of theoretical models to predict the behaviour of complex multicellular systems with many interacting parts. By doing so, mathematical models provide a tool to assess the consistency of experimental observations with testable mechanistic hypotheses. In this review article we showcase examples from recent years of multidisciplinary investigations of neural crest cell migration. The neural crest model system has been used to study how collective migration of cell populations is shaped by cell-cell interactions, cell-environmental interactions, and heterogeneity between cells. The wide range of emergent behaviours exhibited by neural crest cells in different embryonal locations and in different organisms helps us chart out the spectrum of collective cell migration. At the same time, this diversity in migratory characteristics highlights the need to reconcile or unify the array of currently hypothesised mechanisms through the next generation of experimental data and generalised theoretical descriptions

    The Cyprinodon variegatus genome reveals gene expression changes underlying differences in skull morphology among closely related species

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    Genes in durophage intersection set at 15 dpf. This is a comma separated table of the genes in the 15 dpf durophage intersection set. Given are edgeR results for each pairwise comparison. Columns indicating whether a gene is included in the intersection set at a threshold of 1.5 or 2 fold are provided. (CSV 13 kb

    Microanatomy of Adult Zebrafish Extraocular Muscles

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    Binocular vision requires intricate control of eye movement to align overlapping visual fields for fusion in the visual cortex, and each eye is controlled by 6 extraocular muscles (EOMs). Disorders of EOMs are an important cause of symptomatic vision loss. Importantly, EOMs represent specialized skeletal muscles with distinct gene expression profile and susceptibility to neuromuscular disorders. We aim to investigate and describe the anatomy of adult zebrafish extraocular muscles (EOMs) to enable comparison with human EOM anatomy and facilitate the use of zebrafish as a model for EOM research. Using differential interference contrast (DIC), epifluorescence microscopy, and precise sectioning techniques, we evaluate the anatomy of zebrafish EOM origin, muscle course, and insertion on the eye. Immunofluorescence is used to identify components of tendons, basement membrane and neuromuscular junctions (NMJs), and to analyze myofiber characteristics. We find that adult zebrafish EOM insertions on the globe parallel the organization of human EOMs, including the close proximity of specific EOM insertions to one another. However, analysis of EOM origins reveals important differences between human and zebrafish, such as the common rostral origin of both oblique muscles and the caudal origin of the lateral rectus muscles. Thrombospondin 4 marks the EOM tendons in regions that are highly innervated, and laminin marks the basement membrane, enabling evaluation of myofiber size and distribution. The NMJs appear to include both en plaque and en grappe synapses, while NMJ density is much higher in EOMs than in somatic muscles. In conclusion, zebrafish and human EOM anatomy are generally homologous, supporting the use of zebrafish for studying EOM biology. However, anatomic differences exist, revealing divergent evolutionary pressures

    Development of mandibular, hyoid and hypobranchial muscles in the zebrafish: homologies and evolution of these muscles within bony fishes and tetrapods

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>During vertebrate head evolution, muscle changes accompanied radical modification of the skeleton. Recent studies have suggested that muscles and their innervation evolve less rapidly than cartilage. The freshwater teleostean zebrafish (<it>Danio rerio</it>) is the most studied actinopterygian model organism, and is sometimes taken to represent osteichthyans as a whole, which include bony fishes and tetrapods. Most work concerning zebrafish cranial muscles has focused on larval stages. We set out to describe the later development of zebrafish head muscles and compare muscle homologies across the Osteichthyes.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>We describe one new muscle and show that the number of mandibular, hyoid and hypobranchial muscles found in four day-old zebrafish larvae is similar to that found in the adult. However, the overall configuration and/or the number of divisions of these muscles change during development. For example, the undivided adductor mandibulae of early larvae gives rise to the adductor mandibulae sections A0, A1-OST, A2 and Aω, and the protractor hyoideus becomes divided into dorsal and ventral portions in adults. There is not always a correspondence between the ontogeny of these muscles in the zebrafish and their evolution within the Osteichthyes. All of the 13 mandibular, hyoid and hypobranchial muscles present in the adult zebrafish are found in at least some other living teleosts, and all except the protractor hyoideus are found in at least some extant non-teleost actinopterygians. Of these muscles, about a quarter (intermandibularis anterior, adductor mandibulae, sternohyoideus) are found in at least some living tetrapods, and a further quarter (levator arcus palatini, adductor arcus palatini, adductor operculi) in at least some extant sarcopterygian fish.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>Although the zebrafish occupies a rather derived phylogenetic position within actinopterygians and even within teleosts, with respect to the mandibular, hyoid and hypobranchial muscles it seems justified to consider it an appropriate representative of these two groups. Among these muscles, the three with clear homologues in tetrapods and the further three identified in sarcopterygian fish are particularly appropriate for comparisons of results between the actinopterygian zebrafish and the sarcopterygians.</p

    Learning horizon and optimal alliance formation

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    We develop a theoretical Bayesian learning model to examine how a firm’s learning horizon, defined as the maximum distance in a network of alliances across which the firm learns from other firms, conditions its optimal number of direct alliance partners under technological uncertainty. We compare theoretical optima for a ‘close’ learning horizon, where a firm learns only from direct alliance partners, and a ‘distant’ learning horizon, where a firm learns both from direct and indirect alliance partners. Our theory implies that in high tech industries, a distant learning horizon allows a firm to substitute indirect for direct partners, while in low tech industries indirect partners complement direct partners. Moreover, in high tech industries, optimal alliance formation is less sensitive to changes in structural model parameters when a firm’s learning horizon is distant rather than close. Our contribution lies in offering a formal theory of the role of indirect partners in optimal alliance portfolio design that generates normative propositions amenable to future empirical refutation

    Fast Homozygosity Mapping and Identification of a Zebrafish ENU-Induced Mutation by Whole-Genome Sequencing

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    Forward genetics using zebrafish is a powerful tool for studying vertebrate development through large-scale mutagenesis. Nonetheless, the identification of the molecular lesion is still laborious and involves time-consuming genetic mapping. Here, we show that high-throughput sequencing of the whole zebrafish genome can directly locate the interval carrying the causative mutation and at the same time pinpoint the molecular lesion. The feasibility of this approach was validated by sequencing the m1045 mutant line that displays a severe hypoplasia of the exocrine pancreas. We generated 13 Gb of sequence, equivalent to an eightfold genomic coverage, from a pool of 50 mutant embryos obtained from a map-cross between the AB mutant carrier and the WIK polymorphic strain. The chromosomal region carrying the causal mutation was localized based on its unique property to display high levels of homozygosity among sequence reads as it derives exclusively from the initial AB mutated allele. We developed an algorithm identifying such a region by calculating a homozygosity score along all chromosomes. This highlighted an 8-Mb window on chromosome 5 with a score close to 1 in the m1045 mutants. The sequence analysis of all genes within this interval revealed a nonsense mutation in the snapc4 gene. Knockdown experiments confirmed the assertion that snapc4 is the gene whose mutation leads to exocrine pancreas hypoplasia. In conclusion, this study constitutes a proof-of-concept that whole-genome sequencing is a fast and effective alternative to the classical positional cloning strategies in zebrafish

    Left-Right Function of dmrt2 Genes Is Not Conserved between Zebrafish and Mouse

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    Background: Members of the Dmrt family, generally associated with sex determination, were shown to be involved in several other functions during embryonic development. Dmrt2 has been studied in the context of zebrafish development where, due to a duplication event, two paralog genes dmrt2a and dmrt2b are present. Both zebrafish dmrt2a/terra and dmrt2b are important to regulate left-right patterning in the lateral plate mesoderm. In addition, dmrt2a/terra is necessary for symmetric somite formation while dmrt2b regulates somite differentiation impacting on slow muscle development. One dmrt2 gene is also expressed in the mouse embryo, where it is necessary for somite differentiation but with an impact on axial skeleton development. However, nothing was known about its role during left-right patterning in the lateral plate mesoderm or in the symmetric synchronization of somite formation. Methodology/Principal Findings: Using a dmrt2 mutant mouse line, we show that this gene is not involved in symmetric somite formation and does not regulate the laterality pathway that controls left-right asymmetric organ positioning. We reveal that dmrt2a/terra is present in the zebrafish laterality organ, the Kupffer’s vesicle, while its homologue is excluded from the mouse equivalent structure, the node. On the basis of evolutionary sub-functionalization and neo-functionalization theories we discuss this absence of functional conservation. Conclusions/Significance: Our results show that the role of dmrt2 gene is not conserved during zebrafish and mous

    HSPG-Deficient Zebrafish Uncovers Dental Aspect of Multiple Osteochondromas

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    Multiple Osteochondromas (MO; previously known as multiple hereditary exostosis) is an autosomal dominant genetic condition that is characterized by the formation of cartilaginous bone tumours (osteochondromas) at multiple sites in the skeleton, secondary bursa formation and impingement of nerves, tendons and vessels, bone curving, and short stature. MO is also known to be associated with arthritis, general pain, scarring and occasional malignant transformation of osteochondroma into secondary peripheral chondrosarcoma. MO patients present additional complains but the relevance of those in relation to the syndromal background needs validation. Mutations in two enzymes that are required during heparan sulphate synthesis (EXT1 or EXT2) are known to cause MO. Previously, we have used zebrafish which harbour mutations in ext2 as a model for MO and shown that ext2−/− fish have skeletal defects that resemble those seen in osteochondromas. Here we analyse dental defects present in ext2−/− fish. Histological analysis reveals that ext2−/− fish have very severe defects associated with the formation and the morphology of teeth. At 5 days post fertilization 100% of ext2−/− fish have a single tooth at the end of the 5th pharyngeal arch, whereas wild-type fish develop three teeth, located in the middle of the pharyngeal arch. ext2−/− teeth have abnormal morphology (they were shorter and thicker than in the WT) and patchy ossification at the tooth base. Deformities such as split crowns and enamel lesions were found in 20% of ext2+/− adults. The tooth morphology in ext2−/− was partially rescued by FGF8 administered locally (bead implants). Our findings from zebrafish model were validated in a dental survey that was conducted with assistance of the MHE Research Foundation. The presence of the malformed and/or displaced teeth with abnormal enamel was declared by half of the respondents indicating that MO might indeed be also associated with dental problems
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