[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cessation of bleeding after trauma is a necessary evolutionary vertebrate adaption for survival. One of the major pathways regulating response to hemorrhage is the coagulation cascade, which ends with the cleavage of fibrinogen to form a stable clot. Patients with low or absent fibrinogen are at risk for bleeding. While much detailed information is known about fibrinogen regulation and function through studies of humans and mammalian models, bleeding risk in patients cannot always be accurately predicted purely based on fibrinogen levels, suggesting an influence of modifying factors and a need for additional genetic models. The zebrafish has orthologs to the three components of fibrinogen (fga, fgb, and fgg), but it hasn't yet been shown that zebrafish fibrinogen functions to prevent bleeding in vivo. Here we show that zebrafish fibrinogen is incorporated into an induced thrombus, and deficiency results in hemorrhage. An Fgb-eGFP fusion protein is incorporated into a developing thrombus induced by laser injury, but causes bleeding in adult transgenic fish. Antisense morpholino knockdown results in intracranial and intramuscular hemorrhage at 3 days post fertilization. The observed phenotypes are consistent with symptoms exhibited by patients with hypo- and afibrinogenemia. These data demonstrate that zebrafish possess highly conserved orthologs of the fibrinogen chains, which function similarly to mammals through the formation of a fibrin clot.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(9):e74682. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The plasma glycoprotein von Willebrand factor (VWF) exhibits fivefold antigen level variation across the normal human population determined by both genetic and environmental factors. Low levels of VWF are associated with bleeding and elevated levels with increased risk for thrombosis, myocardial infarction, and stroke. To identify additional genetic determinants of VWF antigen levels and to minimize the impact of age and illness-related environmental factors, we performed genome-wide association analysis in two young and healthy cohorts (n = 1,152 and n = 2,310) and identified signals at ABO (P < 7.9E-139) and VWF (P < 5.5E-16), consistent with previous reports. Additionally, linkage analysis based on sibling structure within the cohorts, identified significant signals at chromosome 2q12-2p13 (LOD score 5.3) and at the ABO locus on chromosome 9q34 (LOD score 2.9) that explained 19.2% and 24.5% of the variance in VWF levels, respectively. Given its strong effect, the linkage region on chromosome 2 could harbor a potentially important determinant of bleeding and thrombosis risk. The absence of a chromosome 2 association signal in this or previous association studies suggests a causative gene harboring many genetic variants that are individually rare, but in aggregate common. These results raise the possibility that similar loci could explain a significant portion of the "missing heritability" for other complex genetic traits.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12/2012; · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: von Willebrand disease (VWD) is the most common inherited human bleeding disorder and is caused by quantitative or qualitative defects in von Willebrand factor (VWF). VWF is a secreted glycoprotein that circulates as large multimers. While reduced VWF is associated with bleeding, elevations in overall level or multimer size are implicated in thrombosis. The zebrafish is a powerful genetic model in which the hemostatic system is well conserved with mammals. The ability of this organism to generate thousands of offspring and its optical transparency make it unique and complementary to mammalian models of hemostasis. Previously, partial clones of zebrafish vwf have been identified, and some functional conservation has been demonstrated. In this paper we clone the complete zebrafish vwf cDNA and show that there is conservation of domain structure. Recombinant zebrafish Vwf forms large multimers and pseudo-Weibel-Palade bodies (WPBs) in cell culture. Larval expression is in the pharyngeal arches, yolk sac, and intestinal epithelium. These results provide a foundation for continued study of zebrafish Vwf that may further our understanding of the mechanisms of VWD.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The exocyst complex tethers vesicles at sites of fusion through interactions with small GTPases. The G protein RalA resides on Glut4 vesicles, and binds to the exocyst after activation by insulin, but must then disengage to ensure continuous exocytosis. Here we report that, after recognition of the exocyst by activated RalA, disengagement occurs through phosphorylation of its effector Sec5, rather than RalA inactivation. Sec5 undergoes phosphorylation in the G-protein binding domain, allosterically reducing RalA interaction. The phosphorylation event is catalysed by protein kinase C and is reversed by an exocyst-associated phosphatase. Introduction of Sec5 bearing mutations of the phosphorylation site to either alanine or aspartate disrupts insulin-stimulated Glut4 exocytosis, as well as other trafficking processes in polarized epithelial cells and during development of zebrafish embryos. The exocyst thus serves as a 'gatekeeper' for exocytic vesicles through a circuit of engagement, disengagement and re-engagement with G proteins.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A substantial genetic contribution underlies variation in baseline peripheral blood counts. We performed quantitative trait locus/loci analyses to identify chromosome regions harboring genes influencing red cell hemoglobin concentration using the cell hemoglobin concentration mean (CHCM), a directly measured parameter analogous to the mean cell hemoglobin concentration. Fourteen significant loci (gene symbols Chcmq1-Chcmq14) were detected. Seven of these influenced CHCM in a sex-specific fashion, and 2 showed significant interactive effects (epistasis). For quantitative trait locus/loci detected in multiple crosses, confidence intervals were narrowed using statistical and bioinformatic approaches. Two strong candidate genes emerged and were further analyzed: adult β-globin (Hbb) for Chcmq3 on Chr 7, and transferrin (Trf) for Chcmq2 on Chr 9. High and low allele parental strains in crosses detecting Chcmq3 segregate 100% with the known ancestral haplotype blocks, hemoglobin (Hb) diffuse (Hbb(d)) and Hb single (Hbb(s)), respectively. Hbb(d) consists of nonidentical major and minor polypeptides and exhibits an increased positive charge relative to Hbb(s) due to the net loss of 2 negative residues in the Hbb(dminor) polypeptide, resulting in a pI of 7.85 versus 7.13. Thus, as shown in human erythrocytes, positively charged Hbs are associated with cell dehydration and increased CHCM in mouse erythrocytes.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Type 1 von Willebrand disease (VWD) is the most common inherited human bleeding disorder. However, diagnosis is complicated by incomplete penetrance and variable expressivity, as well as wide variation in von Willebrand factor (VWF) levels among the normal population. Previous work has exploited the highly variable plasma VWF levels among inbred strains of mice to identify 2 major regulators, Mvwf1 and Mvwf2 (modifier of VWF). Mvwf1 is a glycosyltransferase and Mvwf2 is a natural variant in Vwf that alters biosynthesis. We report the identification of an additional alteration at the Vwf locus (Mvwf5), as well as 2 loci unlinked to Vwf (Mvwf6-7) using a backcross approach with the inbred mouse strains WSB/EiJ and C57BL/6J. Through positional cloning, we show that Mvwf5 is a cis-regulatory variant that alters Vwf mRNA expression. A similar mechanism could potentially explain a significant percentage of human VWD cases, especially those with no detectable mutation in the VWF coding sequence. Mvwf6 displays conservation of synteny with potential VWF modifier loci identified in human pedigrees, suggesting that its ortholog may modify VWF in human populations.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The zebrafish is a powerful model for studying vascular development, demonstrating remarkable conservation of this process with mammals. Here, we identify a zebrafish mutant, redhead (rhd(mi149)), that exhibits embryonic CNS hemorrhage with intact gross development of the vasculature and normal hemostatic function. We show that the rhd phenotype is caused by a hypomorphic mutation in p21-activated kinase 2a (pak2a). PAK2 is a kinase that acts downstream of the Rho-family GTPases CDC42 and RAC and has been implicated in angiogenesis, regulation of cytoskeletal structure, and endothelial cell migration and contractility among other functions. Correction of the Pak2a-deficient phenotype by Pak2a overexpression depends on kinase activity, implicating Pak2 signaling in the maintenance of vascular integrity. Rescue by an endothelial-specific transgene further suggests that the hemorrhage seen in Pak2a deficiency is the result of an autonomous endothelial cell defect. Reduced expression of another PAK2 ortholog, pak2b, in Pak2a-deficient embryos results in a more severe hemorrhagic phenotype, consistent with partially overlapping functions for these two orthologs. These data provide in vivo evidence for a critical function of Pak2 in vascular integrity and demonstrate a severe disease phenotype resulting from loss of Pak2 function.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2007; 104(35):13996-4001. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genetic factors responsible for the wide variation in plasma von Willebrand factor (VWF) levels observed among individuals are largely unknown, although these genes are also likely to contribute to variability in the severity of von Willebrand disease (VWD) and other bleeding and thrombotic disorders. We have previously mapped two genes contributing to the regulation of plasma VWF levels in mice (Mvwf1 on chromosome 11 and Mvwf2 on chromosome 6).
To identify additional quantitative trait loci (QTL) contributing to the genetic regulation of murine plasma VWF levels.
To map genetic loci contributing to the > 7-fold difference in plasma VWF levels between two mouse strains (A/J and CASA/RkJ), high-density individual genotyping and R/qtl analyses were applied to a previously generated set of approximately 200 F2 mice obtained from an intercross of these two inbred lines.
Genomic loci for two additional candidate VWF modifier genes were identified: Mvwf3 on chromosome 4 and Mvwf4 on chromosome 13. These loci demonstrate primarily epistatic effects when co-inherited with two CASA/RkJ Vwf alleles, although Mvwf4 may also exert a small, independent, additive effect.
Mvwf3 and Mvwf4, combined with the effect of Mvwf2, explain approximately 45% of the genetic variation in plasma VWF level among the A/J and CASA/RkJ strains. Mvwf3 and Mvwf4 exhibit homology of synteny to three human chromosomal segments (on chromosomes 1, 5 and 6) previously reported by the Genetic Analysis of Idiopathic Thrombophilia (GAIT) study, suggesting that orthologs of Mvwf3 and Mvwf4 may also encode important VWF modifier genes in humans.
Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis 02/2007; 5(2):329-35. · 6.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The zebrafish has become a powerful tool for analysis of vertebrate hematopoiesis. Zebrafish, unlike mammals, have a robust primitive myeloid pathway that generates both granulocytes and macrophages. It is not clear how this unique primitive myeloid pathway relates to mammalian definitive hematopoiesis. In this study, we show that the two myeloid subsets can be distinguished using RNA in situ hybridization. Using a morpholino-antisense gene knockdown approach, we have characterized the hematopoietic defects resulting from knockdown of the myeloid transcription factor gene pu.1 and the unique zebrafish gene c/ebp1. Severe reduction of pu.1 resulted in complete loss of primitive macrophage development, with effects on granulocyte development only with maximal knockdown. Reduction of c/ebp1 did not ablate initial macrophage or granulocyte development, but resulted in loss of expression of the secondary granule gene lys C. These data reveal strong functional conservation of pu.1 between zebrafish primitive myelopoiesis and mammalian definitive myelopoiesis. Further, these results are consistent with a conserved role between c/ebp1 and mammalian C/EBPE, whose ortholog in zebrafish has not been identified. These studies validate the examination of zebrafish primitive myeloid development as a model for human myelopoiesis, and form a framework for identification and analysis of myeloid mutants.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Both genetic and environmental influences contribute to the wide variation in plasma von Willebrand factor (VWF) levels observed in humans. Inbred mouse strains also have highly variable plasma VWF levels, providing a convenient model in which to study genetic modifiers of VWF. Previously, we identified a major modifier of VWF levels in the mouse (Mvwf1) as a regulatory mutation in murine Galgt2. We now report the identification of an additional murine VWF modifier (Mvwf2). Mvwf2 accounts for approximately 16% of the 8-fold plasma VWF variation (or approximately 25% of the genetic variation) observed between the A/J and CASA/RkJ strains and maps to the murine Vwf gene itself. Twenty SNPs were identified within the coding regions of the A/J and CASA/RkJ Vwf alleles, and in vitro analysis of recombinant VWF demonstrated that a single SNP (+7970G>A) and the associated nonsynonymous amino acid change (R2657Q) confers a significant increase in VWF biosynthesis from the CASA/RkJ Vwf allele. This change appears to represent a unique gain of function that likely explains the mechanism of Mvwf2 in vivo. The identification of a natural Vwf gene variant among inbred mice affecting biosynthesis suggests that similar genetic variation may contribute to the wide range of VWF levels observed in humans.