The deafness gene dfna5 is crucial for ugdh expression and HA production in the developing ear in zebrafish.
ABSTRACT Over 30 genes responsible for human hereditary hearing loss have been identified during the last 10 years. The proteins encoded by these genes play roles in a diverse set of cellular functions ranging from transcriptional regulation to K(+) recycling. In a few cases, the genes are novel and do not give much insight into the cellular or molecular cause for the hearing loss. Among these poorly understood deafness genes is DFNA5. How the truncation of the encoded protein DFNA5 leads to an autosomal dominant form of hearing loss is not clear. In order to understand the biological role of Dfna5, we took a reversegenetic approach in zebrafish. Here we show that morpholino antisense nucleotide knock-down of dfna5 function in zebrafish leads to disorganization of the developing semicircular canals and reduction of pharyngeal cartilage. This phenotype closely resembles previously isolated zebrafish craniofacial mutants including the mutant jekyll. jekyll encodes Ugdh [uridine 5'-diphosphate (UDP)-glucose dehydrogenase], an enzyme that is crucial for production of the extracellular matrix component hyaluronic acid (HA). In dfna5 morphants, expression of ugdh is absent in the developing ear and pharyngeal arches, and HA levels are strongly reduced in the outgrowing protrusions of the developing semicircular canals. Previous studies suggest that HA is essential for differentiating cartilage and directed outgrowth of the epithelial protrusions in the developing ear. We hypothesize that the reduction of HA production leads to uncoordinated outgrowth of the canal columns and impaired facial cartilage differentiation.
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ABSTRACT: Zebrafish (Danio rerio) have become a valuable model for investigating the molecular genetics and development of the inner ear in vertebrates. In this study, we employed a prepulse inhibition (PPI) paradigm to assess hearing in larval wild-type (AB) zebrafish during early development at 5-6 days post-fertilization (d.p.f.). We measured the PPI of the acoustic startle response in zebrafish using a 1-dimensional shaker that simulated the particle motion component of sound along the fish's dorsoventral axis. The thresholds to startle-inducing stimuli were determined in 5-6 d.p.f. zebrafish, and their hearing sensitivity was then characterized using the thresholds of prepulse tone stimuli (90-1200 Hz) that inhibited the acoustic startle response to a reliable startle stimulus (820 Hz at 20 dB re. 1 m s(-2)). Hearing thresholds were defined as the minimum prepulse tone level required to significantly reduce the startle response probability compared with the baseline (no-prepulse) condition. Larval zebrafish showed greatest auditory sensitivity from 90 to 310 Hz with corresponding mean thresholds of -19 to -10 dB re. 1 m s(-2), respectively. Hearing thresholds of prepulse tones were considerably lower than previously predicted by startle response assays. The PPI assay was also used to investigate the relative contribution of the lateral line to the detection of acoustic stimuli. After aminoglycoside-induced neuromast hair-cell ablation, we found no difference in PPI thresholds between treated and control fish. We propose that this PPI assay can be used to screen for novel zebrafish hearing mutants and to investigate the ontogeny of hearing in zebrafish and other fishes.Journal of Experimental Biology 09/2013; 216(Pt 18):3504-13. · 3.24 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Morphogenesis of the semicircular canal ducts in the vertebrate inner ear is a dramatic example of epithelial remodelling in the embryo, and failure of normal canal development results in vestibular dysfunction. In zebrafish and Xenopus, semicircular canal ducts develop when projections of epithelium, driven by extracellular matrix production, push into the otic vesicle and fuse to form pillars. We show that in the zebrafish, extracellular matrix gene expression is high during projection outgrowth and then rapidly downregulated after fusion. Enzymatic disruption of hyaluronan in the projections leads to their collapse and a failure to form pillars: as a result, the ears swell. We have cloned a zebrafish mutant, lauscher (lau), identified by its swollen ear phenotype. The primary defect in the ear is abnormal projection outgrowth and a failure of fusion to form the semicircular canal pillars. Otic expression of extracellular matrix components is highly disrupted: several genes fail to become downregulated and remain expressed at abnormally high levels into late larval stages. The lau mutations disrupt gpr126, an adhesion class G protein-coupled receptor gene. Expression of gpr126 is similar to that of sox10, an ear and neural crest marker, and is partially dependent on sox10 activity. Fusion of canal projections and downregulation of otic versican expression in a hypomorphic lau allele can be restored by cAMP agonists. We propose that Gpr126 acts through a cAMP-mediated pathway to control the outgrowth and adhesion of canal projections in the zebrafish ear via the regulation of extracellular matrix gene expression.Development 09/2013; · 6.60 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In animals, the main precursor for glycosaminoglycan and furthermore proteoglycan biosynthesis, like hyaluronic acid, is UDP-glucuronic acid, which is synthesized via the nucleotide sugar oxidation pathway. Mutations in this pathway cause severe developmental defects (deficiency in the initiation of heart valve formation). In plants, UDP-glucuronic acid is synthesized via two independent pathways. Beside the nucleotide sugar oxidation pathway, a second minor route to UDP-glucuronic acid exist termed the myo-inositol oxygenation pathway. Within this myo-inositol is ring cleaved into glucuronic acid, which is subsequently converted to UDP-glucuronic acid by glucuronokinase and UDP-sugar pyrophosphorylase. Here we report on a similar, but bifunctional enzyme from zebrafish (Danio rerio) which has glucuronokinase/putative pyrophosphorylase activity. The enzyme can convert glucuronic acid into UDP-glucuronic acid, required for completion of the alternative pathway to UDP-glucuronic acid via myo-inositol and thus establishes a so far unknown second route to UDP-glucuronic acid in animals. Glucuronokinase from zebrafish is a member of the GHMP-kinase superfamily having unique substrate specificity for glucuronic acid with a Km of 31±8 µM and accepting ATP as the only phosphate donor (Km: 59±9 µM). UDP-glucuronic acid pyrophosphorylase from zebrafish has homology to bacterial nucleotidyltransferases and requires UTP as nucleosid diphosphate donor. Genes for bifunctional glucuronokinase and putative UDP-glucuronic acid pyrophosphorylase are conserved among some groups of lower animals, including fishes, frogs, tunicates, and polychaeta, but are absent from mammals. The existence of a second pathway for UDP-glucuronic acid biosynthesis in zebrafish likely explains some previous contradictory finding in jekyll/ugdh zebrafish developmental mutants, which showed residual glycosaminoglycans and proteoglycans in knockout mutants of UDP-glucose dehydrogenase.PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(2):e89690. · 3.73 Impact Factor